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Pointless Woods is left standing alone


All the President's men, bar one, had contributed at least a point to the US cause as they set out on the third day of their match against the International team at Royal Melbourne this morning.

Tiger Woods was playing in the foursomes desperate to avoid an ignominious hat-trick.

After losing by a record 7&6 scoreline on the first day of the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup spin-off which does not feature European players, Woods was defeated again yesterday. This time he had Dustin Johnson as his partner, Fred Couples having ripped up the former world No 1's supposed crack pairing with Steve Stricker.

The scale of submission to Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day in the fourballs was not as dramatic as the previous day. But a one-up victory for the Australians meant that of the American side only Woods had drawn a blank as they compiled a 7-5 lead. Two years ago, Woods won all five of his matches. Couples resisted the temptation to drop Woods for the second foursomes session, keeping him with Johnson, and was hoping he fared rather better against his former caddie this time around. Steve Williams, who referred to Woods at an awards ceremony, as "that black arsehole" a fortnight ago, was again on the bag of Adam Scott, half of the duo who clinically disposed of Woods and Stricker.

While their first confrontation was devoid of flare-ups there was still some niggle, particularly when Scott and KJ Choi refused to concede a two-footer to Stricker. "I was very surprised,'' said Woods. "Steve is probably the best putter on the planet. I don't think he's missed one of those since coming out of the womb.''

The focus began to intensify on Couples's decision to pick Woods, the world No 50, as a wild card when Keegan Bradley, the USPGA champion, was left at home. Woods was playing for himself, his country and, yes, his captain. However, Royal Melbourne was not helping. "Just trying to hit the greens, that was a heck of an accomplishment," said Woods, who recorded one birdie in the first two days. "Wedges weren't holding, balls were oscillating on the greens, you've got to play the wind on putts. It was a tough day." Scott, meanwhile, called the conditions "carnage".