A text message from Tiger Woods ahead of the final day of the Ryder Cup helped motivate the American side and avoid any potential upset.
Woods, who is still rehabbing after a car accident in February, reached out to the Americans and captain Steve Stricker throughout the week. Stricker said early in the competition that the 15-time major winner had been “in my ear a lot and I call him pretty regularly.”
The night before the final rounds, with the Americans having a commanding 11-5 lead, Woods sent a final piece of motivation. Via the Golf Channel:
According to various sources inside the U.S. team room, Woods spent the week dropping Stricker text messages and on the eve of Sunday’s singles session he sent the American side the kind of message that Stricker would not – step on their necks.
Xander Shauffele said he and Patrick Cantlay would not reveal the details of the text, but did say they "referred to it a few times today, and we knew what we needed to do."
That they did, winning by a record-setting margin of 19-9. It's the most points scored by any Ryder Cup team on either side since 1979 and for the first time in the competition's history the U.S. didn't lose any of the five sessions. On the final day the U.S. team won 8 1/2 of the 12 available points.
“He’s part of our Ryder Cup team,” Stricker said of Woods, via Golf. “He’s part of what we do. He’s been part of so many of these teams. So to bounce ideas off of him, all of us, players alike, I know some of the players went over to see him.
“But I think it’s just not a good time for him to be here physically because of where he’s at in his rehabilitation and tough course to walk, right. Everybody is going to see it, from tee-to-green, it’s difficult. So probably won’t show up. But he’s getting better and his focus and mine is on making a comeback to play again. We don’t want to get in the way of that because we would all love to see him come back and play.”
Woods shared in the jubilation from home with a tweet after the victory was official.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) September 26, 2021
Competitors in the golf community have provided small updates on Woods' recovery, saying the rehab was going well and he was "getting after it." Woods suffered serious leg injuries in a rollover crash in February. He said in his first interview in May that the process was "more painful than anything I have ever experienced."