Sport Golf

Monday 20 November 2017

Another 'pointless' exercise for Woods


James Corrigan

All the President's men bar one had contributed at least a point to the US cause as they set out on the third day of their match against the International team at Royal Melbourne this morning leading by 7-5.

Tiger Woods was again given the nod to play in the foursomes, desperate to avoid an ignominious hat-trick.

After losing by a record 7&6 on the first day of the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup spin-off that does not feature European players, Woods was defeated again yesterday. This time he had Dustin Johnson as his partner, Fred Couples having ripped up the former world No 1's supposed crack pairing with Steve Stricker.

The scale of submission to Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day in the fourballs yesterday was not as dramatic as the previous day. But a one-up victory for the Australians meant that, of the American side, only Woods had drawn a blank as they compiled a 7-5 lead. Two years ago, Woods won all five of his matches.

Couples resisted the temptation to drop Woods for today's second foursomes session, keeping him with Johnson, and hoping he would fare rather better against former caddie Steve williams this time around, with the first-day opponents of Adam Scott and KJ Choi again in the opposite corner.

While their first confrontation was devoid of flare-ups -- given the recent controversy over Williams' Tiger comments -- there was still some niggle in the air, particularly when Scott and Choi refused to concede a two-footer to Stricker.

"I was very surprised,'' said Woods. "Steve is probably the best putter on the planet. I don't think he's missed one of those since coming out of the womb.''

Woods' week was in danger of becoming yet more uncomfortable as the focus began to intensify on Couples' decision to pick the world No 50 as a wild card following yesterday's reverse.


Many questioned the US captain's decision to assure Woods of selection weeks before he had to, pointing to the fact that Keegan Bradley, the US PGA champion, was left at home.

Woods was playing for himself, his country and, yes, his captain, too. However, Royal Melbourne was not helping.

"Just trying to hit the greens, that was a heck of an accomplishment," said Woods, who recorded just one birdie in the first two days. "It was a tough day."

Scott, meanwhile, referred to the conditions at the revered layout as being "carnage" as the wind combined with the lightning-fast greens to make it a brutal challenge. Just what Woods needed in his fragile state. (© Independent News Service)

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