United States team member David Toms has defended captain Fred Couples's faith in Tiger Woods for next month's Presidents Cup, following a barrage of criticism over the struggling former world number one's selection.
Couples preferred Woods over a number of in-form candidates for one of his two captain's picks, including U.S. PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, despite the 14-times major champion's failure to win a tournament in two years and ongoing form woes as he grapples to master a rebuilt swing.
Internationals captain Greg Norman and team member Geoff Ogilvy, a former U.S. Open champion, have both questioned Couples's pick, with the former adding fuel to the fire by saying he thought Woods incapable of winning another major.
Toms, a 13-time PGA Tour winner, said Woods would be the best player in the world if fit and in form.
So if he's working on his game and he feels healthy, I think he's a great addition to the team, the 44-year-old told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.
Any time that there's a captain's pick involved, there's going to be a deserving player that gets left off because you can't pick everybody.
I guess really the only way to do it would just be to take the 12 and just make it -- the top 12 guys make the team, no captain's picks, and that's the easy way out.
But I think obviously something that Fred thought long and hard about. He's talked to Tiger quite a bit about it, and I still think that Tiger in a match play format is very, very difficult to beat.
And I'm not sure as an opponent you'd want to play him. So I think it's a great pick.
Woods has been a shadow of his former self since revelations over his marital infidelities at the end of 2009 led to the breakdown of his marriage. His last tournament win came at the Australian Masters in 2009 and his world ranking has since slipped to 55.
But the American has played every Presidents Cup since 1998 and was dominant as the U.S. won the last edition in San Francisco in 2009.
Couples urged Woods to justify his selection by playing himself into form ahead of the November 17-20 tournament in Melbourne, and the 35-year-old obliged by making a rare appearance in the PGA Tour's Fall Series at the Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club, California.
Woods hit three successive scores in the 60s at the tournament, his first after a two-month break following an erratic, injury-hit season, but still finished 10 strokes behind winner Bryce Molder.
The American's Presidents Cup credentials will come into much sharper focus days before the tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, when he headlines the Australian Open in Sydney, where he will clash with Internationals Norman, Ogilvy, Adam Scott and Jason Day.