Tiger Woods will play at the Ryder Cup later this month after he was announced as one of US captain Jim Furyk’s four wildcard picks Tuesday.
Former world No. 1 Woods was already set to be at the event in France as one of Furyk’s assistant captains for the match against Team Europe.
But the quality of his play this season after returning from back fusion surgery has suggested the 14-time major champion can be a key factor in the US successfully defending the Cup at Le Golf National near Paris.
Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau were also selected by Furyk, who will confirm the final member of his team Sunday after the BMW Championship.
“I haven’t been part of the team playing-wise for six years,” Woods told reporters.
“I served as vice-captain a couple of years ago and that was absolutely incredible to be part of the team, to try to help these young guys in any way I could. This year, to be able to play again is beyond special.
“To have an opportunity to go to Europe and to have an opportunity to win a Ryder Cup and to be part of this group of guys to have that opportunity to go there, it’s exciting, it really is.”
It will be the first time Woods has played in the Ryder Cup since 2012. The 42-year-old briefly led July’s British Open before finishing tied sixth and was runner-up behind Brooks Koepka at August’s US PGA Championship.
Although he’s played in seven Ryder Cups, Woods has only been on the winning side once, at Brookline in 1999. In all he has played 33 Ryder Cup matches, with 13 wins, 17 defeats and three halves.
Mickelson, 48, will be appearing in a record 12th straight Ryder Cup after making his debut in 1995. The mercurial left-hander won a World Golf Championship event in Mexico earlier this year to record his first win since 2013.
DeChambeau is the hottest property on tour after winning the first two FedEx Cup playoff events.
The 24-year-old, known as golf’s “mad scientist,” has a unique style and uses irons that are all the same length.
His quirky theories have marked him out as different, but with four wins in his last 31 events DeChambeau is the talk of golf. He will be making his Ryder Cup playing debut after attending the Hazeltine event as a fan.
Already qualified for the US team are Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Bubba Watson.
A number of players, including Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele, are in the running for the final wildcard spot.
Europe captain Thomas Bjorn of Denmark will name all four of his wildcard picks Wednesday.
The European side’s automatic qualifiers are Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose.
The US has not won a Ryder Cup on European soil since Tom Watson’s team triumphed at The Belfry in England in 1993. Europe has won six of the last eight Ryder Cups.
The Ryder Cup is set to begin September 28.