Turns out, Tiger Woods is coming to Chaska next summer after all.
Many believed Woods would not be able to recover from a bad back — and bad play, of late — to qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team coming to Hazeltine National in Chaska in September. Now, he'll be there, either with clubs in his hand as a playing team member, or a just a vice captain.
U.S. captain Davis Love III on Wednesday announced his three vice captains for the tournament: Woods, Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk. All three are past playing members and likely 2016 playing hopefuls.
"Tiger wants to be a playing assistant," Love said Wednesday. "That's his goal. He wants to make the team, but he wants to be involved in any way."
In 2014, the U.S. had three nonplaying vice captains. It's clear Woods, who had two microdiscectomy surgeries on his back in the past two years, has larger goals than helping coach.
"I'd like to thank Davis for his confidence in me and for my selection as a Ryder Cup vice captain. This is something I want to do," Woods said in a release. "I will continue to do whatever I can to help win the Cup back. Once I'm fully healthy, I'd like to try to make the team too, but either way, I'm very excited to work with Davis, the other Vice Captains and the players to get a U.S. victory."
Woods was ranked 283rd in the world in September when he announced he had his second back surgery. "This is certainly disappointing, but I'm a fighter," Woods said then. "I've been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will."
Woods has played in seven Ryder Cups (1997, '99, '2002, '04, '06, '10, '12) — compiling a 13-17-3 Ryder Cup record — and he's played in two majors (2002 and 2009 PGA Championship) at Hazeltine.
Woods told Love last month during the Presidents Cup that he would like to serve as a vice captain during next year's matches if he didn't qualify for the team, according to the Golf Channel, and he reiterated those sentiments on Wednesday.
"Tom, Jim, Steve and Tiger have over 50 years of combined Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experiences that they are eager to share," Love said in a statement. "They'll also be my eyes and ears from event to event next year on Tour. That's invaluable."
Earlier this year, Love named Minnesotan Tom Lehman to an assistant captain position.
track and field
Russia out of compliance
Leaders of the World Anti-Doping Agency declared Russia's anti-doping operation out of compliance — a harsh though expected blow to a country accused of widespread corruption throughout its sports. Members of the WADA foundation board approved a recommendation from an independent commission that detailed widespread rule-breaking in Russia's track and anti-doping programs.
Without an operating anti-doping agency, Russia cannot host or bid for international events. The track team already has been provisionally suspended by the sport's governing body, the IAAF, which is also under investigation for its role in the doping scandal.
The vote came as key figures in the anti-doping movement, including Olympic champions Edwin Moses and Beckie Scott, called for banning the Russian track team from next year's Olympics and for the probe in Russia to extend beyond track and field.
around the horn
Soccer: Sergio Jadue, the president of Chile's soccer federation, resigned just hours after he traveled overnight to the United States amid a corruption probe and reports that he has turned into an FBI informant.
Tennis: Rafael Nadal won his second straight match at the ATP finals, beating Andy Murray 6-4, 6-1 to close in on a spot in the semifinals of the season-ending tournament. In the other match of the day, Stan Wawrinka overcame an early break in the first set to beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2.