Dating to 1999, Woods has led the points table for every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team. Even when he played only six times in 2008 because of knee surgery and missed his first cup competition, he still had twice as many points as any other American.
Woods is out of action indefinitely as he copes with the fallout of his infidelity.
Speculation on when he might return has ranged from the Florida swing to the Masters to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach to 2011.
Where does that leave the Ryder Cup?
"There isn't much to think about right now," U.S. captain Corey Pavin said last week at the Sony Open. "It's a matter of when and if he comes back."
Under a new system installed by past captain Paul Azinger, the current year is all that matters. The movement is so volatile that Woods could be out of the top eight who automatically qualify by the Florida swing. If he doesn't play, he doesn't earn points.
Then again, Pavin is allowed four captain's picks. Does he leave out the world's No. 1 player?
"A lot of it depends on his level of play," Pavin said. "I'm going to treat Tiger like any other player.