Woods: 'This was Mark's only chance'

Updated: November 19, 2004, 5:52 PM ET
Associated Press

MIYAZAKI, Japan -- Tiger Woods reiterated his criticism of the PGA of America on Friday for its decision to pass over close friend Mark O'Meara as captain of the 2006 Ryder Cup team.

Tom Lehman was chosen as the U.S. captain a few weeks ago, but Woods said the PGA's timing was off.

"He is a good choice," Woods said. "But he would have been a good choice for America four years from now. Timing wise, I just thought this was Mark's only chance."

Woods, who has a three-stroke lead after two rounds at the Dunlop Phoenix, said on Wednesday that he thought O'Meara should have been selected captain because of his Irish heritage.

The next Ryder Cup matches will be played in Ireland.

Woods said O'Meara was disappointed with the decision.

"He feels this was probably his last chance because of his age," Woods said. "He'll be 51 by the time the next one comes around."

Some thought O'Meara's chances were hurt because he was among those who felt players should have a say in the $23 million the PGA made off the Ryder Cup in 1999. The PGA eventually decided to allot $200,000 per player to give to the charity of their choice.

"If that's the case, I won't be captain either, Woods said at the time. "Or David (Duval). Or Phil (Mickelson). We were all saying that."

Woods said this wasn't the first time the PGA of America had made the wrong decision.

"They skipped Larry Nelson in 1997 and gave it to Tom Kite," he said. "Then they tried to rectify a wrong by putting Nelson back into the bid for this one, but it was already too late because he's out of touch with the all the players."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press