Captain Woods to play again as US look to bounce back
Issued on: Modified:
Tiger Woods will juggle his captain's duties with playing for a second day at the Presidents Cup on Friday as the United States attempt to claw back a 4-1 deficit.
The 15-time major winner was the standout player for his team during the opening fourballs on Thursday and he opted to go again with the same partner Justin Thomas.
They were the only winners among the Americans at a blustery Royal Melbourne, beating Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann 4 and 3.
Woods said he would not have played again if the United States were not so far behind against the Ernie Els-led Internationals, who have had their best start since 2005 as they target a first win in 21 years.
"Yeah," he said when asked if that was the case. "We have a couple of different options rolling into this entire cup. The guys have known the game plan, different possible options, and this is one of the scenarios."
He will be in the fourth match out, facing South Korea's An Byeong-hun and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, who are paired together for the first time.
Steve Stricker will again assume the captaincy duties while Woods is swinging his clubs.
A crunch heavyweight opening match will see experienced duo Louis Oosthuizen and veteran Adam Scott take on former world number one Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
- 'Raring to go' -
Both the South African and the Australian won their matches on Thursday, while Kuchar is being used for the first time.
Adam Hadwin will hook up with Chilean young gun Joaquin Niemann with the Canadian facing Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay for the second day running after partnering Im Sung-jae to a 1 up win over the American pair on Thursday.
Im will partner Australian Cameron Smith, who did not play the fourballs after getting embroiled in a cheating row with Patrick Reed, who was jeered at the opening tee on Thursday.
They take on Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler, who was a late call up in place of injured world number one Brooks Koepka.
Reed is back for a second day, staying in his partnership with Webb Simpson as they try to beat Australia's Marc Leishman and Mexico's Abraham Ancer.
"We're excited about getting out there tomorrow and winning some matches, and turning this thing around," said Woods.
Li Haotong was overlooked for a second day, but Els proclaimed the first Chinese player to make the Presidents Cup team would "be ready to play on Saturday. He'll be raring to go."
"I mean, the guys played well today in their respective pairings, and tomorrow we've got whatever pairings we have. We feel comfortable with them. The guys have practised this way, so going with that process," said Els.
"We've got a long event to go still, and you know, we're loving the golf course. We'd like to get the crowd a little bit louder on our side. It was a little quiet out there today, but hopefully they get going tomorrow."
Out-of-form Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau will sit out for the Americans on Friday.
© 2019 AFP