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Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Woods, Stricker thumped in opening foursomes Add to ...

The much anticipated matchup between Tiger Woods and Adam Scott and Tiger's former caddie Steve Williams proved to be one-sided on the opening day of the Presidents Cup.

Woods and Steve Stricker, unbeatable two years ago, didn't make a birdie, didn't win a hole and tied the record for the biggest loss in the history of the event.

Woods and Stricker turned out to be the only weak link for the Americans, who won three matches handily and rallied to halve two other matches to build a 4-2 lead after the opening session

Scott and K.J. Choi were relentless at Royal Melbourne, keeping the ball in play and making enough birdies as Woods and Stricker self-destructed. The International side won, 7 and 6. They were the last of six foursomes matches in the opening session, yet the rout was so great that they were the second match to finish.

Only one other match went 12 holes since the Presidents Cup began in 1994 - David Frost beat Kenny Perry by the same score in 1996.

It was the worst margin of defeat for Woods in any form of match play since he turned pro.

"Unfortunately, they got off to a quick start and we just couldn't keep up," Woods said. "We kept falling to the wrong side of these slopes. The golf course is so difficult, it's hard to make up shots."

The loss also comes on the heels of one of Tiger's worst defeats in Ryder Cup play last year, a 6 and 5 defeat at the hands of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

Scott and Choi never came seriously close to a bogey and were 4 under through 12 holes. Woods and Stricker were 3 over.

"It seemed like we were just a little bit off," Stricker said after his first competition since Sept. 25 at the Tour Championship. "It seemed like I put him in the rough by a foot or so. If you're in the rough here, trying to hit to some of these greens is pretty difficult."

Scott called it a "very pleasing victory," more to do with being home in Australia than anything to do with his caddie.

Woods and Williams exchanged a firm, businesslike handshake on the opening hole and otherwise kept their distance. That was about all the drama in what might be the final chapter of this bitter split between player and caddie. Two weeks ago, Williams made a comment with racial overtones against Woods at a caddies party in Shanghai. While he apologized and the two met face-to-face earlier in the week, their on-course meeting has been one of the most-anticipated pairings on the first day of the Presidents Cup.

The Woods-Stricker loss came moments after the first points of event were won by the U.S. roookie duo of Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson who beat the International team of Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa 4 and 2.

It was a comeback victory for the Americans, who found themselves two down through the first four holes of the match. However, they would go on to win the next three holes with Simpson scoring a pair of birdies and a par and they never trailed the rest of the way. Watson went on to birdie No. 11 and No. 13 and sealed the victory with another birdie on No 16 after Els failed to sink a 22-footer to extend the match.

"I just thought of the story of David and Goliath out there," a nervous Simpson told Golf Channel after the match. "I tried to put one foot forward and follow his head. He told me on the fourth or fifth green that I was one of the best players in the world and to just start hitting golf shots."

Watson, playing in his first Presidents Cup but relying on his experience at last year's Ryder Cup, said he told Simpson that "my job was to loosen him up. I stopped him a couple of times and told a couple of jokes."

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, together for the first time since Brookline in the 1999 Ryder Cup, won 4 and 3 over Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby.

Hunter Mahan and David Toms drilled the Korean duo of Y.E. Yang and K.T. Kim, 6 and 5.

"The only hole that they won, we three-putted," Toms said. "So for the most part, we kept the pressure on, hitting fairways, hitting greens, made a few putts. Just a good day overall."

Two other matches were halved. Bill Haas and Nick Watney rallied from 2-down with four holes to play against Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel. Both teams bogeyed the 18th after missing par putts from outside 10 feet.

The Aussie duo of Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day were 3-up with seven holes to play before the American squad of Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar rallied to halve the match as well.

The Americans are looking to win the Presidents Cup for the fourth straight time. Royal Melbourne was the site of the International team's only win in 1998.

For Friday's Four-Ball matchups, U.S. captain Fred Couples decided to split up Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Tiger will go out in the second match of the day with new partner Dustin Johnson. They will face the all-Australian duo of Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson will once against kick things off for the Americans against Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa, a rematch of Thursday's foursomes opening match.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk will be the third match of the day against Adam Scott and K.T. Kim.

Bill Haas and Nick Watney will face Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi.

Stricker is paired with Matt Kuchar against Robert Allenby and Y.E. Yang.

The final match of the day pits Hunter Mahan and David Toms against the South African duo of Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel.

The threat of afternoon and evening thunderstorms has prompted tournament officials to move the tee times for Friday’s Four-Balls up two hours.

The first group will now tee off at 9:35 a.m. local time (5:35 p.m. ET on Thursday) and the five subsequent groups will be sent off at 14-minute intervals.

There is a 40 percent chance of storms on Friday afternoon, particularly after 2 p.m. Adding to the challenge are winds in the 15-25 mph range with higher gusts.

And the forecast gets worse for Saturday – when there are five Foursomes in the morning and five Four-Balls in the afternoon – as a slow moving cold front brings a 70 percent chance of rain that could be heavy at times. Winds will shift from the north/northwest early to the southwest by noon at 10-20 mph.

Sunday, though, looks good with a high of 68 and only a 20 percent chance of rain.

FIles from the Associated Press were used in this report

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