Woods not automatic Ryder Cup pick: U.S. captain Pavin

IRVING, Texas Mon May 24, 2010 1:37am EDT

Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts as he walks the fifth green during final round play of the Tournament Players Championship PGA golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, May 9, 2010. REUTERS/Hans Deryk

Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts as he walks the fifth green during final round play of the Tournament Players Championship PGA golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, May 9, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Hans Deryk

IRVING, Texas (Reuters) - Tiger Woods is not guaranteed a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and will have to play his way on like every other player, skipper Corey Pavin said on Sunday.

Woods, who took five months out of the game after his private life unraveled at the end of 2009 and has suffered neck problems since his return, is currently 11th in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race.

Only eight players will automatically qualify for the American team's showdown with Europe in October in Wales, while Pavin will have four other picks.

"I'm not going to treat Tiger any different than any other player," Pavin told Reuters after the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship. "He's certainly not going to be an automatic pick.

"He's just going to be treated like everyone else. I'd love to have him on the team but I want him to be playing well," added Pavin, who said he had not spoken to Woods this year.

Woods has played only three tournaments since returning to golf from his self-imposed exile and just two weeks ago pulled out of the Players Championship during the final round, citing a neck injury.

Pavin does not know when he will speak with the 14-times major winner but indicated there was plenty of time to qualify with the Ryder Cup still more than four months away.

Woods has a relatively poor Ryder record of 10 wins, 13 losses and two halves from five events. He has been on the winning team only once, in 1999, and was absent recovering from knee surgery when the Americans ended a nine-year drought by winning the event in 2008.

(Editing Peter Rutherford)

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