Teams halve a see-saw battle

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

MANASSAS, Va. -- At the end of Day 2 of the Presidents Cup, when the six points available had been halved equally, Jack Nicklaus started to plan for today.

He looked at his teams, then turned to Tiger Woods.

"Hey, Tiger would you like to go back out with (Jim) Furyk so he can carry you again tomorrow?" Nicklaus asked.

And who said Jack Nicklaus has no sense of humour?

After seven years and three Presidents Cups, Woods finally won a team best-ball match yesterday. The world's No. 1 golfer had been 0-for-6 in the best-ball format but he's on a winning streak now.

"Yeah," Woods told Nicklaus, "That would be kind of neat. I'd like to have Jim again."

The joke is, of course, that Woods more or less whipped Stuart Appleby and Mark Hensby all by himself. He personally made seven birdies in the first 12 holes, finishing the round without a bogey while Furyk struggled to keep up. Ironically, Furyk's lone birdie of the day closed out the match on the 16th green.

Woods spent much of the round being tended to by therapist Tom LaFountain, who applied ice and massage to Woods' back after he injured himself making a swing early in the round.

"I have a couple of rib heads that are out of place and they cause some spasms," Woods said. "It's just a matter of keeping it pain free and loose."

Early on, the Internationals took charge in much the same way that they had jumped on their opponents the previous day.

The Americans found themselves trailing in four of the six matches right from the start but slowly started to turn things around the deeper they got into each match.

"That's something we have to fix," Davis Love said. "We have to get out to a better start in the matches this weekend."

The American momentum built so thoroughly and so quickly that by 3:44 p.m., International captain Gary Player was praying for a weather delay. That's exactly what he got from a passing thunderstorm that delayed the matches for 80 minutes.

By the time play resumed, the Internationals had regained their equilibrium enough to salvage a couple of matches they were on the verge of losing.

In the end, Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera held on against the hard-charging duo of Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco to grab a share of the first point.

Adam Scott and Retief Goosen, the Internationals' most formidable partnership so far, threatened to blow out Fred Couples and David Toms, but the overmatched Americans rallied midway through the match to make it sporting. The Internationals still won it 3 and 1.

Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir, so impressive in the Thursday alternate-shot match, jumped away to a two-up lead but were reeled in mid-round and eventually lost on the 17th green, 2 and 1.

The best match of the day was waged between Fred Funk and Stewart Cink and Vijay Singh and Tim Clark. The Americans made eight birdies and the Internationals countered with nine in a match that ended all-square.


Videos

Photos