Tiger Woods has bolstered his Melbourne-bound Presidents Cup support staff with major winners Zach Johnson and Fred Couples in a move Woods says will help his quest to become a rare playing captain.
On Tuesday, American skipper Woods announced fellow Masters champions Johnson and Couples, as well as Steve Stricker, as three of his assistants for the biennial teams event at Royal Melbourne from December 12 – 15.
Woods can also name a fourth assistant prior to the event.
Rather than filling his support team with only golfers in line to eventually take over the American captaincy, Woods has included former Presidents Cup skippers Couples (2009, '11 and '13) and Stricker (2017).
The selections are designed to give the team experienced leaders should Woods qualify to become just the second playing captain in Presidents Cup history.
"I didn't just want to have the next in the pipeline, but to have 'Stricks' and Freddy as vice captains just in case things get a little more complicated if I make the team," Woods told AAP at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
"It's going to make things a lot easier for me; these guys have led our teams to victories before and Fred has done it in Australia (in 2011).
"All of us look up to Fred and Stricks is one of the most detail-oriented guys I've been around."
Woods praised Johnson – whose stellar career includes winning the 2007 Masters and the 2015 Open Championship at St Andrews – claiming he will soon captain the Americans at the Presidents Cup and the higher-profile Ryder Cup.
"Zach, he's going to be a Presidents or Ryder Cup captain down the road," Woods said.
"His competitiveness and strategy is amazing; he won the Masters laying up on all 16 of the par-5s and played them in 12-under.
"But then he also won at St Andrews; one of the longer golf courses there is."
Woods is determined to be one of eight qualifiers for the American side – an exciting prospect for Australian fans who have not seen the 43-year-old play a tournament Down Under since 2011.
The eight American qualifiers are determined using FedEx Cup points accrued during a weighted two-year period which started at the 2017 BMW Championship before the team is completed by four captain's picks.
World No.13 Woods currently sits 20th on the American standings.
But he is confident of continuing the form which saw him win his 80th PGA Tour title last season in addition to six top-six results.
Woods began his 2019 campaign at Torrey Pines last month, where he tied 20th in his first official PGA Tour event since September.
He's now gearing up for the LA Open, which starts Thursday, where he will play the opening rounds alongside Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy.
"My game is good; I was just rusty at Torrey after taking quite a few months off," Woods said.
"Now, my schedule going forward is to try get myself ready for April."
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press