| Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker at the Presidents Cup in South Africa on Friday. (Reuters)
George (South Africa): US captain Jack Nicklaus says Tiger Woods would have been an obvious player to stand down from Friday’s fourball matches at the Presidents Cup, based on his poor record in that format.
But Nicklaus decided to include the struggling Woods in his 10-man line-up against the Internationals, adding he would have been ‘shot’ by South African fans had he omitted the world’s number one player.
“Tiger did not play well this morning,” 18-times Major winner Nicklaus told reporters, after Woods and Charles Howell III had been outplayed 5 and 3 by Ernie Els and Tim Clark of the Internationals. “He struggled with his shots.
“If you went by Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup record, Tiger would be the logical one sitting out this morning, because his fourball record has not been particularly good. But I think if I brought Tiger to South Africa, everybody here would shoot me if I (had) sat him (out).”
Friday morning’s defeat left Woods winless after five fourball appearances at the Presidents Cup, while he has won only twice in six fourball matches in the Ryder Cup.
The 27-year-old American contributed just one birdie, at the par-five 13th, as he and Howell battled against South African duo Els and Clark.
The unlikely Clark, a Presidents Cup rookie, was the best performer of the four, peppering the flags with radar-like accuracy to set up the platform for the International team’s crushing win.
Woods, out-of-sorts for most of the morning, benefited towards the end of his round after receiving advice from Nicklaus.
“I came in and watched a few holes on television because I wanted to see him hit more shots,” Nicklaus said. “I saw some things that were wrong that I didn’t like in Tiger’s swing.
“I went out and talked to him about it, and he said the last few holes he hit it much better.”
Asked to pinpoint the problem, Nicklaus replied: “I don’t think that’s necessary. It was something very small, the same thing which we resolved the other night on the practice tee.”