Pavin: Woods has to earn Ryder spot

Updated: May 26, 2010, 12:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tiger Woods won't get a free pass onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team, captain Corey Pavin said Sunday.

Woods

Pavin, who has four captain's picks in addition to eight automatic qualifiers for the 2010 American team, is taking a wait-and-see approach as Woods returns from a five-month hiatus from the sport.

"I'm not going to treat Tiger any different than any other player," Pavin told Reuters after the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship. "He's certainly not going to be an automatic pick.

"He's just going to be treated like everyone else. I'd love to have him on the team but I want him to be playing well."

Woods is 11th in the latest Ryder Cup standings. He trails No. 10 Matt Kuchar by 32 points (1,978.69-1,946.16), but has a healthy lead over No. 12 Nick Watney (who has 1,655.24 points). Phil Mickelson has a healthy overall lead, followed by Anthony Kim, Jim Furyk, Lucas Glover, Hunter Mahan, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Stewart Cink, Ben Crane and Kuchar.

Pavin told Reuters he hasn't spoken to Woods this year.

Woods has played only three tournaments since returning to golf after an offseason that included an auto accident, confirmation of marital infidelity and a trip to rehab. He withdrew from the Players earlier this month with a neck injury. His next tournament is unknown, though he is entered in the U.S. Open, which begins June 17 at Pebble Beach.

Pavin told the British media in December that he hoped Woods would be back for the Ryder Cup.

After the Masters, Pavin said: "I hope he plays some more and continues to play well and makes the team, but I will just have to wait and see what his schedule is. He has other things that he is focusing on as well and I don't think he knows what his schedule will be, so it depends on how things go in his private life and I respect him for what he is going to do and I will have to just wait and see."

The Ryder Cup is set for October in Wales. Woods missed the 2008 Ryder Cup after having knee surgery. The Americans won the Cup at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.