Tiger Woods is back in America’s side for their defence of the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor on October 1-3.
The world number one, needing a wild card for the first time after failing to win a tournament all season, was named by captain Corey Pavin today along with Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
They join the eight who had already qualified on points – Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and cup newcomers Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson.
Woods, who missed the 2008 match in Louisville following knee surgery, returns for his sixth cap, but has only once been on a winning side – in Boston in 1999.
He will play in Wales after a year when a sex scandal cost him his marriage and several of his multi-million dollar sponsorship deals.
He finished fourth at The Masters in his first event back from four months out and repeated that at the US Open, but has not had a top-10 finish since.
When Woods came 78th out of 80 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational a month ago he expressed doubts about whether he would be of any use to the side playing the way he was.
But since starting to work with Sean Foley at last month’s US PGA – previous coach Hank Haney walked out on Woods in May – there has been a marked improvement.
All that counted against Woods in the final analysis really was that America won by five points without him two years ago and lost the previous three matches with him.
But in his last appearance for the United States – last October’s Presidents Cup – he achieved a maximum five points.
In 25 Ryder Cup games – no captain has dared to leave him out of a single session yet – he was won 10, halved two and lost 13.
Stricker is expected to become his 12th partner. They had four wins out of four together in the Presidents Cup and were only once taken to the final green.
The last time he played the Ryder Cup was at The K Club, where his opening drive was hooked into a lake.
He was with Furyk then and they won two and lost two, while in 2004 Woods was famously put with Mickelson and suffered two first-day defeats.
Johnson, Masters champion in 2007, finished third in the US PGA last month and returns to the side after making his debut at The K Club four years ago.
Cink receives a pick for the third time in four matches, but has not won a tournament since beating 59-year-old Tom Watson in the play-off for The Open last summer and has had only one top-10 finish in the last six months.
Fowler, at 21 the same age as Rory McIlroy, creates history by making it from the Walker Cup to the Ryder Cup in just one year.
He has not lifted a US Tour title yet, but has had three second places and is already up to 33rd in the world.