Fact or Fiction: Tiger Woods Is Closer to Being the 2025 Ryder Cup Captain

SI Golf’s writers and editors debate what the hiring of a U.S. team manager means and Nelly Korda’s outlook for the rest of the season after a shocking U.S. Women’s Open.
Tiger Woods has been noncommittal on the 2025 Ryder Cup captaincy but the hiring of a team manager could make his job easier.
Tiger Woods has been noncommittal on the 2025 Ryder Cup captaincy but the hiring of a team manager could make his job easier. / Matt Stone/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

Welcome back to SI Golf’s Fact or Fiction, where we might have to have a milkshake or three this week in honor of the Memorial Tournament.

Once again, we’re here to debate a series of statements for writers and editors to declare as “Fact” or “Fiction” along with a brief explanation. Responses may also (occasionally) be “Neutral” since there's a lot of gray area in golf.

Do you agree or disagree? Let us know on the SI Golf X account.

Nelly Korda missed the weekend at the U.S. Women’s Open after a stunning first-round 80 which included a 10 on a par-3. That will prove to be only a blip in her amazing 2024, which has six wins so far and will end with nine or more. 

Bob Harig: FICTION. Not suggesting she won’t win nine times. She very well might. But golf is a hard game and there are bound to be some tough times. She’s likely to suffer a few more this year. Golf is inevitable.

John Pluym: FACT. After a dominant 2024, Korda was bound to play a bad round of golf. It’s too bad it happened in the U.S. Women’s Open. But that 80 will be her only blip this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if her wins reach double digits.   

Jeff Ritter: FICTION. Nelly has been awesome and I’d be surprised if she shoots another 80, but another MC somewhere along the way? Hey, it happens.. 

John Schwarb: FACT. I think she gets to nine wins, the bigger question is if she can pick off one or two of the three remaining majors. She has raised the bar so high that she’s gotta claim at least two of the five, right?

Lancaster Country Club proved to be a terrific test and a well-supported event, but the earliest it could host again is 2037 with how far out the USGA has awarded Women’s Opens. Governing bodies should stop booking majors a decade-plus in advance. 

Bob Harig: FACT. It’s too late now but the awarding of venues so far into the future limits any kind of flexibility. What’s the rush? Surely behind the scenes there can be some discussions so that a host venue can prepare but five or six years is plenty of time. The British Open, for example, has awarded venues only through 2027. Why the hurry?

John Pluym: FACT. Agree, Bob. I’ll never understand why major tournament sites other than the Masters are booked out so far in advance. There are some great courses that provide a tough test and those courses should be given the opportunity to host multiple majors within 10 years. Let’s spend more time on how to make the tournaments more entertaining from a viewing perspective than planning them out 10 years in advance. 

Jeff Ritter: FACT. I’m sure the USGA has its reasons for selecting venues so far into the future, but I would guess very few fans have booked travel plans for the 2036 U.S. Women’s Open.

John Schwarb: FACT. Lancaster has proved worthy of being a once-a-decade host, but 2037 is the best the USGA can do and 2038 is booked for Oakmont. Would there be back-to-back Pennsylvania Women’s Opens? Well, the USGA has back-to-back PA men’s Opens scheduled for 2049 and 2050 at Oakmont and Merion. Get your vacation requests in now!

The hiring of John Wood as 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team manager means that an announcement of Tiger Woods as captain can’t be too far away. 

Bob Harig: FICTION. The PGA of America simply decided to fill a role that, if anything, allows them to delay the hiring of a captain. Things behind the scenes can get done that the captain would be doing. If we get close to September without a captain, that’s when things get interesting.

John Pluym: FACT. We all know Tiger Woods should be the captain as a former winner at Bethpage Black. I suspect the announcement of Tiger captaining the U.S. team will come way before September.   

Jeff Ritter: FACT. It appears that Wood has been brought on to lessen the load of the next captain. Woods has recently said that he’s tied up with policy board-work and can’t yet be bothered with the Ryder Cup. It all adds up.

John Schwarb: FACT. The hiring of a Minutiae Manager, which Wood will be, absolutely telegraphs the arrival of Captain Tiger Woods. As Bob said, the new position takes pressure off the PGA of America to announce a captain soon. But make no mistake, the Big Cat is coming to Bethpage. 

The field for this week’s Memorial Tournament was finalized after the RBC Canadian Open, and it has 73 players. The system for signature events should be tweaked next year to allow for bigger fields.  

Bob Harig: FACT. The idea that this tournament has just 73 players and will cut down to 50 is laughable. Why not make it 100 and cut to 65 and ties like every other week? What not have 78 players at the other Signature Evnets, offering a few more playing opportunities?

Jeff Ritter: FACT. We can easily get to 90-100 participants while still maintaining these events’ exclusive status. Here’s hoping for a tweak to the system next year.

John Schwarb: FACT. Signature events play in twosomes the first two rounds, so a 73-man field means someone’s going solo and that’s absurd. That alone doesn’t fill me with confidence that the Tour will improve this product next year.

John Pluym: FACT. Agree with Bob and John. And is having a small field really what the PGA Tour wants for signature events? By the way, I am available for the 74th slot so someone doesn’t have to play alone. If we want our tournaments to be a joke, I’m happy to provide a few laughs.  


Published
John Schwarb

JOHN SCHWARB

John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.

Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.

Jeff Ritter

JEFF RITTER

Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.

John Pluym

JOHN PLUYM

John Pluym is the managing editor for NFL and golf content at Sports Illustrated. A sports history buff, he previously spent 10 years at ESPN overseeing NFL coverage. John has won several awards throughout his career, including from the Society of News Design and Associated Press Sports Editors. As a native Minnesotan, he enjoys spending time on his boat and playing golf.