Tiger Woods admitted it was “beyond special” to be set for an eighth Ryder Cup appearance after being named as a wild card by US captain Jim Furyk.
Furyk sprung no surprises as he named Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Woods as his first three wild cards, the trio having finished ninth, 10th and 11th in qualifying respectively.
But playing well enough to fully justify his place in the side is still a remarkable achievement by Woods, who underwent spinal fusion surgery in April last year and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence the following month when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car.
The 42-year-old, who had five prescription drugs in his system, later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and will spend a year on probation and undergo a diversion programme.
Woods only returned to competitive golf in November but has been impressive ever since, recording five top-10 finishes and missing just two halfway cuts, with sixth place in the Open at Carnoustie and second in the US PGA removing any lingering doubts about his place on team.
Since making his debut in 1997, Woods has compiled a poor record in the event with 13 wins, 17 defeats and three halved matches, while he was a vice-captain to Davis Love III during the 2016 victory at Hazeltine.
“I made my first team at Valderrama and it was a great learning experience to see the passion that one of our late, great team leaders in Payne Stewart showed for the event,” Woods said.
“He made me understand how important the Ryder Cup is and from that moment on I always wanted to be part of each and every team.
“I haven’t been part of the team playing-wise for six years. I served as vice-captain a couple of years ago and that was absolutely incredible to be part of the team, to try to help these young guys in any way I could.
“This year, to be able to play again is beyond special. I am looking forward to the challenge.”