Woods chooses Couples as partner

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The Independent Online

Woods asked to play with Couples at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia, and United States captain Jack Nicklaus was happy to honour the request. "I polled all my players and every one of them wanted to play with Tiger," Nicklaus said.

"Tiger said he would very much like to play with Fred in a match. We are going to honour that the best we can. We would rather have two guys who want to play together than put two guys who might not want to play together."

Unlike the Ryder Cup, where the draw is blind, the Presidents Cup allows the captains to take turns choosing the match-ups. After the captain of the International team, Gary Player, nominated Retief Goosen and Adam Scott for the first match, Nicklaus matched them against Woods and Couples.

Nicklaus nominated Fred Funk and Jim Furyk for the second match, and Player replied with Vijay Singh and Mark Hensby.

The other pairs were Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco against Nick O'Hern and Tim Clark; Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank against Peter Lonard and Stuart Appleby; Davis Love and Kenny Perry against Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera and David Toms and Stewart Cink for the US against Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir.

When the United States last faced the Internationals, at Fancourt in South Africa in 2003, Woods, the world No 1, was locked in a unique sudden-death play-off for the trophy with South Africa's Ernie Els, who is not present this time around.

The teams had ended regulation play level on 17 points after four days of fluctuating fortunes and Woods had to hole an uphill 15-footer to stay in the match. After he holed it the captains, Nicklaus and Player, decided to share the trophy.