Monday 22 January 2018

Williams rubs salt into the wound as Tiger suffers massive defeat

James Corrigan

TIGER WOODS' year continues to lurch back and forth from the promising to the demoralising with giddying haste. Yesterday he was on the wrong end of a record-equalling scoreline in the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

Together with Steve Stricker, he supposedly formed the crack US pairing who, two years ago in this Ryder Cup clone, went all four matches unbeaten. A lot has changed since 2009 and here their undefeated run lasted just 12 holes as they went down to 7&6 in the opening foursomes to Adam Scott and K J Choi.

It would have done absolutely nothing for Woods' mood that Scott's caddie just happens to be Steve Williams who, two weeks ago, referred to the former world No 1 as "that black a***hole".

And new remarks made by Williams in an interview recorded last month were aired yesterday as the pair faced each other in competition.

In the interview, the New Zealander insisted he knew nothing about Woods' string of infidelities which were exposed in '09. "I guess I thought I knew him well and I didn't," Williams said. "I just didn't like having my name associated with it. That sort of activity is not something that I have anything to do with."

Back on the course, the eyes of golf were on the body language as Woods made the first move, shaking Williams' hand at the first tee. A little over two hours later they were touching palms again after a loss which was the biggest since Kenny Perry succumbed by the same margin to David Frost in the first match between the US and the Internationals (minus Europe) 17 years ago.

As Fred Couples moved to split up Woods and Stricker for today's fourballs -- Dustin Johnson being Woods' new partner -- Tiger's third place in last week's Australian Open seemed a long time ago. In 112 matches of various matchplay formats, Woods had never suffered a defeat as resounding as this.

At least his team took a 4-2 lead into today's second session. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson beat Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa 4&2; Hunter Mahan and David Toms demolished YE Yang and KT Kim 6&5 and Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk beat Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby 4&3.

Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel were relieved to get a half with Bill Haas and Nick Watney, while Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day also halved with Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Presidents Cup,

Live, Sky Sports 1, midnight

Irish Independent

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