On pure playing merits Tiger Woods does not deserve to be on this year's Ryder Cup team, at least barring a miraculous turnaround in this week's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Yet if Tiger wants to be on the Ryder Cup team, I think he warrants a place.
Put it this way: If I am Tiger's agent and I know Woods wants to play for the US and I know that Captain Corey Pavin is on the fence I make a phone call, and my pitch goes something like this:
"How much money have you made since 1997, Corey? How much money do you think the eleven other members of the Ryder Cup team have made since 1997? We can quibble about it -- but without Tiger you can cut those numbers somewhere between 40% and 60%. Don't you think Tiger has earned you all enough to get a shot at this year's Ryder Cup?"
I'm not saying Tiger should pursue this line. But I am saying that if he chooses to, his colleagues owe most of what they now have to his successes in the past decade-and-a-half.