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Tiger and Stricker given a ‘dog licence’ on rough opening day

GOLF: Adam Scott and KJ Choi’s emphatic win against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker was the highlight of the Presidents Cup opening day, but the United States nevertheless held a 4-2 lead over the International team after today’s foursomes.

Scott and Choi crushed Woods and Stricker 7&6 – a margin of defeat known as a ‘dog licence’ – at Royal Melbourne to set a standard that, for the most part, their International team-mates failed to match.

Woods’ handshake with former caddie Steve Williams at the first tee was the only thing that went right for the 14-time major winner, who failed to register a single birdie.

“They got off to a good start and we just couldn’t keep up,” said a disappointed Woods. “We kept the ball on the wrong side of the slopes and this golf course is so difficult that it’s hard to make up shots. They shot four-under par on us.”

The Internationals led at the fifth hole in five of the six foursomes matches before the Americans mounted a concerted fightback on a layout that offered them few favours.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk beat Robert Allenby and Retief Goosen 4&3, David Toms and Hunter Mahan prevailed 6&5 over South Korean pair KT Kim and YE Yang, while competition debutants Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson were the first to claim a point for the USA with a 4&2 victory over Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa.

Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar recovered heroically from two down with two to play to halve their match with Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day, while Bill Haas and Nick Watney also rallied late for a share of the points with Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel.