MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Tiger Woods' difficulties at the Presidents Cup began early Friday when he missed a 4-foot birdie putt that would have given him and partner Dustin Johnson the opening hole in their fourballs match.
Woods, trying to make up for a 7-and-6 foursomes loss with Steve Stricker on Thursday in which they failed to make a birdie, saw his putt circle the hole and curl out, enabling Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley to halve the opening hole. They were all square after two holes.
The Americans took a 4-2 points lead into Friday after winning three matches and halving two Thursday.
Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, who beat Ryo Ishikawa and Ernie Els in foursomes on Thursday, led the same International players 1-up after Simpson birdied the par-3 third.
Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, who also won their opening foursomes match, were all square after one hole against Adam Scott and K.T. Kim.
In other matches, Bill Haas and Nick Watney played the International's Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi, Matt Kuchar and Stricker played Y.E. Yang and Robert Allenby, and Hunter Mahan and David Toms, who also combined for a foursomes win Thursday, took on the South African pair of Retief Goosen and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
Players on both teams fought strong, gusting wind from the north to northwest, a direction that always toughens the composite layout at Royal Melbourne.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it an 11 today,'' International captain Greg Norman said about the conditions as the groups teed off.
There is the chance of thunderstorms later on Friday afternoon, so officials moved up the start time Friday by two hours.
The Americans are trying to win the Presidents Cup for the fourth straight time. The Internationals have only won once in eight tournaments – at Royal Melbourne in 1998.
There are five foursomes and five fourballs matches scheduled Saturday, and 12 singles matches Sunday. There are 34 points awarded, with a team needing 17 1/2 to take the trophy.