All eyes on rookie Jordan Spieth's step up at Presidents Cup


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The Independent Online

Unlike the Seve Trophy, the Presidents Cup has little trouble attracting America's big names. Jim Furyk is still lying down in a darkened room following his failure to make the team via the mechanism of the captain's pick.

That spot at Muirfield Village in Ohio went to 20-year-old rookie Jordan Spieth, who has lit up the PGA Tour on debut. Two years ago he was a beaten member of America's Walker Cup team in Aberdeen. Few thought then that he would make the transition from novelty to marquee player at the first attempt.

So rapidly has his star risen that who might partner Spieth, who carded a hole in one during practice, in the opening skirmishes against the Rest of the World team has dominated the pre-match chatter. Tiger Woods had his hand up all week.

"I've played on these teams for so long now," Woods said. "I've had all different types of partners; guys who hit the ball for miles, guys who are short, guys who are pretty mellow, guys who are pretty volatile. I've had it all. I think it's just a matter of trying to gel that particular week. The guys prepare a little differently. Things are a little bit more set in stone than at the Ryder Cup."

When the pairings were made last night for today's opening foursomes matches it was Steve Stricker who won the Spieth ticket in a match against South African pair Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge. Woods is coupled with Matt Kuchar against Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Australia's Marc Leishman.

Unlike the Ryder Cup, play extends over four days and on the first two, all 24 players are involved.