Woods was in constant pain as he won the US Open
Europe captain Nick Faldo believes US Open champion Tiger Woods' absence from September's Ryder Cup could bring the United States team closer together.
Woods, who was the leading US scorer in their 2006 defeat, will not play again this season because of a knee injury.
"On the one side it could be a loss, but on the other they know they don't have the option to bank on Tiger this year," said Faldo.
"I'm sure they'll all pull together because of that."
Woods was leading scorer for the USA with three points out of five two years ago at The K Club, but has been on the winning side just once in five attempts.
He returned after a two-month absence following knee surgery to win the US Open last weekend but now requires a further operation.
Despite two nine-point wins in a row and not having to face Woods, Faldo is still expecting an even contest at Valhalla in September.
"I don't think it's a given that it improves our chances", he said.
"The best player in the world over 18 holes in matchplay can be very vulnerable - players raise their game in that kind of situation.
"On paper we're coming off some strong wins and have a great tradition of team spirit in the Ryder Cup, but look at the rankings and you'll see that the US has a wealth of talent.
"This is matchplay. You're playing for pride and a point and that makes things pretty equal.
"Ultimately, we'll just have to wait and see and, in the meantime, let's hope that Tiger makes a swift recovery."
The 2008 Ryder Cup, the 37th edition of golf's premier team event, will take place at Valhalla in Kentucky from 19-21 September.