'We're Canadians this week'

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Ian Baker-Finch wants Canadian golf fans to drop the gloves and turn up the volume at the Presidents Cup.

"We want Canadians to treat the International team like we're the Canadian hockey team. We're 12 Canadians this week. Treat us that way. Yell for our players. Scream. Sing Canadian songs, call out the players' names," the International team's assistant captain said yesterday.

"Look at our team with Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera. They're big guys. It would be a pretty good hockey team if a fight broke out."

The Internationals, 1-4-1 in the Presidents Cup, want every edge they can get.

Having the crowd here cheer like they do at the Bell Centre for the Canadiens would be a start when play gets under way today with six foursomes (alternate shot) matches.

The biennial match-play competition, which pits Team USA against the best of the world outside Europe, continues through Sunday.

With the aim of getting the crowd at the Royal Montreal Golf Club cranked up early, Baker-Finch and International team captain Gary Player are sending Canadian Mike Weir out in the second match of foursomes with Vijay Singh against Americans Phil Mickelson and Woody Austin.

GET THE BALL ROLLING

Weir owns a 4-1 record in matches against Mickelson in this competition.

"I've played against him a lot, for some reason, and I've had some success against Phil," said Weir. "In 2000, in singles, I just played great, shot 6- or 7-under."

The Internationals figure if Weir and Singh can get the ball rolling, the crowd will get into it and spur them on.

"We know how popular Mike Weir is and we wanted a lot of screams to be coming up whether he is making putts or not," said Player. "That's been a good combination. Vijay is pretty long off the tee and Mike's swinging really well at the moment."

In the foursomes format, one player on each team tees off on the odd-numbered holes and one on the even. They alternate shots until the ball is holed out.

The Internationals were satisfied with the matchups, figuring they got four they liked. Player and Baker-Finch got Weir against Mickelson and they got another matchup they favoured against world No. 1 Tiger Woods.

He is partnered with friend Charles Howell III and will face Korean K.J. Choi and Aussie Nick O'Hern in the final match of the day.

O'Hern has twice beaten Woods in match play.

Woods and Howell were 2-0 in foursomes in 2003.

The rest of today's matches: Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan (USA) vs. Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy (INT); Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson (USA) vs. Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman (INT); David Toms and Jim Furyk (USA) vs. Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera (INT); and Lucas Glover and Scott Verplank (USA) vs. Stuart Appleby and Retief Goosen (INT).


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