World Cup winner Woodland dreaming of Ryder debut

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Gary Woodland is targeting a United States Ryder Cup debut in Illinois next September after combining with Matt Kuchar to win the World Cup team competition.

“The Ryder Cup has always been a huge goal of mine and that goal is now much more important after Matt and I won the World Cup,” Woodland told Reuters in an interview.

“Ever since I turned professional I have dreamt about being in a U.S. Ryder Cup team and it now seems a big step closer.

“I had the goal at the start of the year to make the Presidents Cup. That didn’t pan out but then Matt chose me to partner him in the World Cup and I could not have been happier.”

Sunday’s victory in China means the U.S. now hold the Presidents Cup and World Cup trophies and the only professional team title no longer in their possession is the Ryder Cup.

Woodland, who landed his first U.S. PGA Tour victory at the Transitions Championship in Florida in March, said his experiences at the Mission Hills resort last week would help him in his quest to qualify for the team that will be captained by Davis Love III next year.

“Europe has kind of had the States’s number in most of the recent Ryder Cups but it would be nice to be in the team that win back the trophy on home turf,” said the 27-year-old.

“It’s been a long while since the States had the Ryder Cup, World Cup and Presidents Cup in the same trophy cabinet but for me winning the World Cup is going to be a big inspiration to make the Ryder Cup team.

“Any time you can prove you can play foursomes and fourballs in a team format it definitely helps. It helps my confidence and it further boosts Matt’s confidence given that he was also on the winning Presidents Cup side the week before,” added Woodland.

“Hopefully both he and I can play well enough in 2012 to make Davis’s side. I grew up watching the Ryder Cup and it would be an honour for me to play.”

He said the fatherly approach that the likes of Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk adopted at the Presidents Cup in Australia could only bolster the chances of the American team.

“There are now a lot of younger players who could qualify for the next Ryder Cup side,” Woodland explained.

“The strong aspect of the U.S. team is there are guys like Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, who I heard were excellent in the Presidents Cup and were acting very much like coaches down there in Australia.

“They were very helpful to the younger members of the team and that’s something Matt undertook with me this week. He was always very positive, very encouraging and always very helpful in putting me at ease.

“Now the likelihood the next Ryder Cup team is going to be much younger than we’ve seen in a long time, it’s great that players like Phil, Jim and Matt are taking on this father-like role.”

Woodland, who is ranked 48th in the world, said he benefited hugely from combining with number 11 Kuchar at the World Cup.

“I’ve learned so much from playing alongside Matt and that’s going to be a great springboard for me to take into 2012,” he said.

“I also hope Davis has taken some notes because I hope I’ve proved I can handle myself capably in a team format.”