Tiger Woods likely on U.S. squad

AKRON, Ohio -- Tiger Woods is playing his first event in three months and is not assured of playing in the PGA Tour's playoff events.

But he's all but assured a spot on the U.S. Presidents Cup team if he wants it.

Captain Fred Couples said Friday that Woods would be on his squad that takes on an international team at Royal Melbourne in Australia in November, provided there are no injury setbacks.

"I have talked to Tiger from the beginning of the year," Couples told the Golf Channel in Minneapolis, where he is playing in the 3M Championship on the Champions Tour. "We text quite a bit. We texted last night. He wants to play. He is ready to play, and I think he will be on our team.

"If he wants to come talk to me and say maybe I am not as healthy as I thought I was, so be it, but as far as I'm concerned, if he is not in the top 10 ... he will be on our team, no doubt."

Woods confirmed earlier this week that he would be playing in the Australian Open, which will be played in Sydney the week prior to the Presidents Cup.

Asked about being picked for the team, Woods said: "I was hoping to play my way on the team," he said at the Bridgestone Invitational, where he is tied for 36th through two rounds.

"Freddie is just a great captain to play for, and we had a great time at Harding Park (2009 San Francisco) last time. We had a great team. It'll be a lot of fun. As of right now, obviously I'm not on the team, and hopefully I can play my way onto it so he doesn't have to use a pick on me."

Despite Woods' optimism, that seems unlikely.

The top 10 in the Presidents Cup standings through next month's BMW Championship automatically qualify, but Woods is more than 2.5 million points behind No. 10 David Toms.

Players receive points based on official money earned, doubled this year. Woods is not even certain to be eligible for any of the playoff events which begin in three weeks at the Barclays.

Couples and International team captain Greg Norman will make two at-large selections following the Tour Championship. The Presidents Cup is Nov. 17-20.

"He is the best player in the world for a long time," Couples said. "He has slipped a little in rankings maybe, the way he is shooting scores, but he is still Tiger, and if I am captain, I will pretty much take him anytime we go."

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.