SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Fred Couples has told Tiger Woods that he decided to add him to the 12-member Presidents Cup team.
Couples took the drama out of the debate over whether Woods would be on the team, saying Thursday it's already a done deal.
"I've told him that he's going to be on the team," Couples said just before a practice round preparing for the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. "There is no reason for me to wait till Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He's the best player in the world forever."
Ten players automatically qualify for the team based on points accumulated over the past two years. Couples is then given two captain's picks to round out his squad, which will compete against a team of non-European International players at Royal Melbourne in Australia on Nov. 14-20.
Woods, who is 28th on the Presidents Cup list, had a long summer layoff because of soreness in his left knee and left Achilles' tendon. He played in two recent tournaments, finishing 37th in the Bridgestone Invitational in early August then missing the cut the following week at the PGA Championship.
Woods wrote on his website earlier this week that he had conversations with Couples about playing on the team and that "of course, I want to be on the team" that competes in Australia.
"Is he playing well right now? No. (But) he almost won (The Masters) four months ago so you don't do that by playing poor golf," Couples said. "In my opinion, when you're the best player in the world for 12 straight years and you're not on a team, there's something wrong.
"Everyone else can have their opinion, but as far as I know Jay Haas and myself are the captains and we want him on this team."
Haas is Couples' assistant captain for these matches.
Couples, initially unaware the Woods had not qualified for this week's FedEx Cup, told him by text message to find another tournament to play. Woods' next scheduled appearance is not until the Australian Open, the week before the Cup, although he said he might add a PGA Tour event to his schedule.
"He has responded to that. I'm pretty sure you'll see him one more time," Couples said. "That's enough for me. I know the last thing he wants to do is embarrass himself. I think he'll be ready to play. Does that mean he's going to go out and win every point? No, I don't expect that. But I expect him to be sharp and ready to play. I would be shocked if he's not."
Couples has requested that all his team members play in the Australian Open to sharpen their games before the Presidents Cup. The Australian Open is Nov. 10-13 at The Lakes near Sydney.
One of the players on the edge of the Presidents Cup standings is Bill Haas, son of Jay Haas. He is ranked 10th with a month to go before the Sept. 26 selection date. Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler are 11th and 12th.
"I don't know how you can criticize someone for choosing Tiger Woods. If he goes there and doesn't play well I would be shocked. I have a pairing for him. He deserves to be on the team," Couples said. "There are guys who are 11, 12, 13 who are having phenomenal years. But you know they're picks. I could take the easy way out and just pick 1 through 12. I don't think if that works either. I think that's the easy way out."
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company