By Larry FineCHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – Tiger Woods, sidelined from playing for more than a year due to persistent back problems, threw himself into his role as assistant captain on the United States’ Ryder Cup team and loved the experience.“As a player that has been on these teams, to be on a different side of it, to be on the vice-captaincy side of it has meant so much to me,” Woods told reporters after the U.S. beat Europe for the first time since 2008, clinching a 17-11 triumph at Hazeltine on Sunday.“To be part of getting to know these 12 guys, and these vice-captains and our captain on a deeper level has meant so much to me.“And the relationships that we’ve forged here this week and actually before this week, these are bonds that will last a lifetime.”Woods, 40, has played in seven Ryder Cups but only in one winning team and has a record of 13 wins, 17 losses and three halves.Players including Patrick Reed, the top U.S. points earner with 3.5 from five matches, and Brandt Snedeker, a spotless 3-0 in the competition, have praised Woods for his dedication and the help they received from him.Although enthused by the idea of becoming a future Ryder Cup captain, Woods hopes to make yet another comeback to competitive golf in coming months and ultimately return as a playing member of the U.S. team.“I would love to do it,” he said about a captaincy. “I would be honoured to do it in the future if asked.“But from the player standpoint of it, I like playing. I love these guys. I love being out there in the fight with these guys.“I was just in the fight a different way and had to do my role … and it was pretty cool.”Bubba Watson thought having Woods as a fellow vice-captain was a kick.“I have Tiger’s cell phone number now, yes. I’m going to text you all the time,” said Watson, drawing laughs from the team and Woods himself.