By Mark Lamport-Stokes
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Tiger Woods will not hit a single shot in competition at this week's Ryder Cup but he has already played a significant and passionate role for the United States as a vice-captain, according to Brandt Snedeker.
Former world number one Woods, sidelined for much of the past year while recovering from multiple back operations, is one of five assistants to U.S. captain Davis Love III at Hazeltine and has established himself as the team's leading tactician.
"Tiger is 100 percent in," Snedeker told reporters before the U.S. players headed out on to the course for the second day of official practice on a cold, blustery Wednesday.
"He's probably spent more time in the last three weeks on this stuff than all of the other assistant captains put together. That's the kind of guy he is and how much he cares about it. It's infectious."
Snedeker, an eight-times winner on the PGA Tour who is known for his fast-talking, has been taken aback by how much interaction he has had with Woods since he booked his spot on a second U.S. Ryder Cup team.
"He called me two weeks ago and started talking to me then," said the 35-year-old from Tennessee. “We were on the phone for an hour and a half.
"He has called me several times since, and to say it's unusual to get a call from Tiger Woods would be pretty accurate. I don't get a lot of those calls.
"Got to the point where I was joking around, like, 'You're calling me more than my wife is right now, we need to figure something out.' But it's great to have that kind of commitment and that kind of passion from a guy like Tiger."
Snedeker said that Woods, a veteran of seven Ryder Cups as a player, has been giving the U.S. team advice on every aspect of the game, from the tactical and physical to the mental and psychological.
“We're talking about everything ... how I should be getting prepared as an individual, what our thought processes should be, how we are going to come together as a team ... like that," Snedeker explained.
(Editing by Andrew Both)