MONTREAL (AP) — Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk will be back together in the fourball matches Friday in the Presidents Cup.
Woods and Furyk, 2-0-1 in the 2005 Presidents Cup and 2-2 in the 2006 Ryder Cup, will face Vijay Singh and Stuart Appleby in the second match of the day.
On Thursday, in the opening foursomes matches, Woods teamed with Charles Howell III to beat K.J. Choi and Nick O’Hern 3 and 1, while Furyk and David Toms edged long-hitters Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera 1 up to help the United States take 5 1/2 of the six points.
Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan will open the best-ball session for the United States against Cabrera and Retief Goosen, while Els will join Canadian Mike Weir in the third match against Howell and Zach Johnson.
“I picked first tonight for tomorrow’s matches,” U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus said. “Again, I’ve gone with a policy of asking the guys who they would like to be paired with. … Phil and Hunter wanted to play together and they asked to go out first.”
In the final three matches, Americans Steve Stricker and Scott Verplank will play Adam Scott and Choi, Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover will face Australians Geoff Ogilvy and O’Hern, and Toms and Woody Austin will meet South Africans Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.
“Really, I think it’s quite … irrelevant who plays anybody because every match is a tough match,” International captain Gary Player. “You cannot say, `Well, we put this guy against so and so because he’s a points-getter.’ It just doesn’t work like that.”
On Saturday, the teams will play five morning alternate-shot matches and five afternoon best-ball matches. The event will end Sunday with 12 singles matches.
BACK IN THE DAY Charles Howell III recalled the first time he met Tiger Woods, his partner in a 3-and-1 victory over K.J. Choi and Nick O’Hern.
It was in the third round of the 1996 U.S. Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge.
“My glasses were bigger than my waist size at the time and I was playing this guy named Tiger Woods who hit 330 in the air, which with the equipment then, was unbelievable. I was in awe,” Howell said Thursday.
Woods was three years older than the then-17-year-old Howell, who he beat 3 and 1 that day in Oregon. He went on to cap his amateur career with his third straight U.S. Amateur title.
“Since then, I’ve had a great respect for him, an admiration for him,” Howell said. “He’s just enough older than I am where I was able to pattern a lot of what I did around him. His work ethic. He brought hard work into golf. He brought working out into golf. You know, and he brought the expectations up from golf.
“So, I am very lucky that I’m in the generation that has benefited greatly from this guy. You know, I just have a high enough respect for him and I get to see him at home some, as well. It’s just great for me to be out with him any time I get a chance.”
BEACH BUM Woody Austin left Phil Mickelson in five bunkers on the front nine in their halved match with Vijay Singh and Mike Weir.
“I hope I played as bad as I can play on the front nine,” Austin said. “I have to bring more sun screen for Phil tomorrow for all the bunkers I put him in.”
After Austin put his drive on No. 18 in the middle of the fairway, Mickelson – about 175 yards ahead of his partner walking along the side of the dogleg left, remarked: “All right! In the short stuff.”
ROUGH START The opening tee shots were in play at Royal Montreal when the strap on Hunter Mahan’s bag came undone when caddie John Woods lifted it.
In what looked like an emergency rescue mission, a half-dozen officials scurried over to the bag to try to fix it. Wood simply picked it up by the handle and was on his way when an old friend bailed him out.
Jim Mackay, the looper for Phil Mickelson, showed how many times he’s been around the block by pulling out a carabiner he keeps in his bag for such emergencies. Woods used the mountain climbing tool to fasten the strap back on the bag, and he was on his way.