Houston: Rival Gleneagles Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson have expressed hope injured Tiger Woods will be fully fit to compete in September's Europe versus United States showdown in Scotland.
Woods shocked the golf world in announcing back surgery earlier this week will preclude him from teeing-up in next week's Masters, an event he has won four times in the past.
And while Woods will be absent from Augusta National, McGinley will be present to work with TV but also to meet with Watson and with the subject of their conversation surely to be this newest injury to strike down the Wwrld number one.
"Tiger's good for golf, so the sooner he gets back playing, the better," said Irishman McGinley in Houston on Tuesday.
"Of course I'd like him to play at Gleneagles, and it will be a better Ryder Cup with him there. Tiger's one of the world's greatest players and the Ryder Cup is golf's greatest event.
"Right now, I can only wish him the best of luck. Having had eight surgeries myself, I understand what he must be going through, though the back obviously is a more complex area than the knee."
Woods will not be returning to competition soon as the microdiscectomy he underwent in Utah earlier this week is expected to keep him side-lined well into the heart of the season.
It could mean missing out on contesting the US Open at Pinehurst where he was runner-up to New Zealand's Micheal Campbell in 2005, while in July Woods is due to defend his Royal Liverpool Open Championship where he broke down in tears in winning in 2006 after the death of his father.
At present, Woods is lying well down in 44th position on the USA Team points table having slipped a further three spots in not contesting last week's Valero Texas Open.
However if Woods does not qualify automatically, and if he should be healthy, he is almost assured of being afforded one of Watson's three 'wildcard' picks.
"I just hope he's healthy enough to be able to play," said Watson.
The Ryder Cup dates are September 26-28 with Europe going for a third straight win in the tournament.
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