United States captain Davis Love has revealed Tiger Woods fully expects to put his recent troubles behind him and qualify for the Ryder Cup team for the contest at Hazeltine in 2016.
The 14-time major winner is currently on an indefinite break from golf as he tries to get his game “tournament ready” following a poor start to the 2015 season.
Woods missed the cut in his season opener at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after firing a career-worst 82 in the second round, before withdrawing after 11 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open in February due to back pain.
The 39-year-old has insisted his break has nothing to do with injury and his short game would appear to be of the most concern after chipping problems blighted his performance at TPC Scottsdale.
The Masters, which begins at Augusta on April 9, is Woods’ target for a return and will be the second tournament to offer Ryder Cup points with majors, World Golf Championship events and the Players Championship all counting towards the 2016 total this season.
Next term, points will be available at all Tour events until the Barclays at the end of August and Love has already been in touch with the former world number one about his ambitions.
“He’s expecting to make the team,” Love told BBC Radio Five Live. “He and I keep in touch a lot more than we have. He still has a good attitude and is working hard.”
He added: “I spoke to a few people who tell me he’s working very hard and is eager to get back. I suppose he has a plan for the Masters – we’re hoping to see him back soon.
“Right now, it’s the Ryder Cup we’re talking about – we have guys trying to make the Presidents Cup team and he is anxious about getting back to playing so he can get some points for that, then he can think about Ryder Cup.
“But I wouldn’t count him out just yet.”