Azinger doesn't rule out Tiger attending Ryder Cup matches

Updated: September 2, 2008, 2:17 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Tiger Woods is rehabbing from knee surgery and has previously said he would not attend the Ryder Cup because he was not part of the team.

Tiger Woods

I am kind of curious how he feels as the event unfolds and as things unfold throughout the week. He's really intelligent and he has a great golf mind, so I'm looking forward to talking to Tiger.

-- Paul Azinger, U.S. Ryder Cup captain, on Woods (above)

But U.S. captain Paul Azinger left open the possibility Tuesday at a news conference announcing his four at-large selections for the team that will take on Europe at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky., starting Sept. 19.

Asked if he could confirm whether Woods would attend the matches for at least one day, Azinger said, "It has not been confirmed.

"Tiger's been focused on rehab right now, and he needs to do what's best for his body. I'm going to have an open phone line to Tiger Woods during the event. I didn't think it was fair to ask Tiger to participate in the selection process in any way. But I am kind of curious how he feels as the event unfolds and as things unfold throughout the week. He's really intelligent and he has a great golf mind, so I'm looking forward to talking to Tiger."

Despite playing in only six tournaments this year, Woods led the U.S. Ryder Cup standings after winning four times -- including the U.S. Open -- and finishing second and fifth. When he had season-ending knee surgery after the U.S. Open, Woods' name was removed from the points list.

Azinger will have plenty of help without Woods' input. He has enlisted former Ryder Cup captains Dave Stockton and Raymond Floyd, as well as PGA Tour player Olin Browne, as assistants.

Woods has played in the last five Ryder Cups -- one U.S. victory and four defeats -- and is 10-13-2, 3-1-1 in singles.

"Whether he's going to want to come or whether I want him to come or any of that ... I haven't really given it much thought," Azinger said. "I want Tiger to get better ... I think the game needs Tiger and misses Tiger. I'm going to really miss that Tiger is not going to be there, and Elin and the baby. It's one of my great regrets of this Ryder Cup that he's not going to be a participant in these matches."

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com