x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Tiger Woods paired with Adam Scott and ex-caddie in Presidents Cup

In the pairings for the opening session tomorrow, Woods and Steve Stricker will face Adam Scott and KJ Choi in the last of six foursomes matches.

Fred Couples, the US captain, left, and Greg Norman, the International captain, discuss the first day's fourball pairings after the draw saw Tiger Woods playing against Adam Scott tomorrow.
Fred Couples, the US captain, left, and Greg Norman, the International captain, discuss the first day's fourball pairings after the draw saw Tiger Woods playing against Adam Scott tomorrow.

MELBOURNE // The Presidents Cup will get started with a reunion between Tiger Woods and his ex-caddie Steve Williams.

In the pairings for the opening session tomorrow, Woods and Steve Stricker will face Adam Scott and KJ Choi in the last of six foursomes matches.

It will be the first time Woods and Williams have been in the same group since Woods fired him this summer. And it comes just two weeks after Williams made a remark to disparage Woods at a private caddies dinner.

Fred Couples, the US captain, had a chance to avoid the pairing, but chose to leave Woods and Stricker in the anchor position. Greg Norman, the International captain, said it is good for the tournament and the matchup "needed to be done" though it was not a premeditated move to nip the issue in the bud.

"I think it's great for the tournament. It needed to be done," Norman said. "It played out the way it played out. There wasn't any premeditation by it.

"I think at the end of the day the guys in that last group will be the consummate professionals and go out and play the game of golf representing their International team and the US team the way they should do."

Couples added: "I think Greg hit it right on the button. We did not plan anything but I think it worked out awesome for everybody involved to have Adam and Tiger play.

"As we've said all along, they are still very good friends and I think it's an exciting match."

But Norman and Couples became irritated as they continued to be questioned about the situation, with Norman saying it is a 'dead' issue while Couples insisted Stricker and Choi should not be forgotten in the matchup.

"There's six pairings that are all incredible pairings. It's not just Adam Scott and Tiger Woods — there's 22 other players here," Couples said. I think it's a heck of a set-up for day one.

"You've got Steve Stricker and KJ Choi playing against each other also. Those are two of the finest guys on the PGA Tour."

As defending champions, the USA had the choice of whether to name the first pairing for tomorrow's alternate shot foursomes or to defer to the Internationals. Couples elected to let Norman pick first as the 'host'.

Norman named Ernie Els, the South African veteran, and Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese young gun, who only arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday night, with the pair to take on Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.

Couples then chose Bill Haas and Nick Watney with Norman picking local Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel as their opponents, before Norman named exciting Australian duo Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day and Couples matched them with Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Next up Couples picked veterans Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk and Norman chose to pair them against South African Retief Goosen and local Robert Allenby before KT Kim and YE Yang for the Internationals were matched against Hunter Mahan and David Toms.

That left the promoter's dream matchup, with Couples jokingly asking, "who's left?" before both confirmed their final groups.