Jack Nicklaus Captains Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player differ on who has edge in The Presidents Cup

Captains Jack Nicklaus of the American team and Gary Player of the International squad both agree their golf teams seem to be excited about playing in this week's Presidents Cup.

As far as which team has the advantage in the team competition at Royal Montreal Golf Club, well, that's another matter.

"If you go on paper, I think Gary's team," Nicklaus told reporters. "I think all of his players are in the top 25 in the world, and I think we go down to 47 or something like that."

Player's viewpoint is a bit different, especially considering that that the U.S. roster features the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.

"Let me say about Jack's team - he said our team on paper, but he's got the best three players in the world rated 1, 2, 3, Tiger, Phil and Jim Furyk," Player said. "So really, the stage is set for another great match."

The Americans enter the Presidents Cup with a 4-1-1 record in the event that's played every two years. The U.S. hasn't lost since 1998.

That fact wasn't lost on International team player Stuart Appleby.

"It's been a long time," Appleby said at the Presidents Cup press conference. "Our team has got better. I don't think the American Team has got much better. It's improved or it's matured, but we've come leaps and bounds and even when we won in '98, we didn't have a great team. We had a good team. But now when you look at the 2007 team, you think, 'Wow, this is way better than what we would ever have dreamed of.'"

Woods, who has a 10-9-1 career record in the event, said that of the Ryder Cup Matches and the Presidents Cup, the team the Americans face in the Presidents cup is probably a more difficult challenge.

"They are stronger on paper generally than our team and generally than the European team," Woods told reporters. "To be on their squad, you have to be in the top 20 in the world - that's pretty impressive. For some reason, we've been able to get in the last couple of Cups. We were playing well, but it didn't happen in '98."

Furyk said his approach to the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup Matches is virtually the same.

"I don't think it matters who the guys are on the other side," Furyk said. "You have to prepare like any other tournament. You have to get your game ready to play the best you can.

"Whether you're playing home or away or Internationals or the European squad, it really shouldn't make a difference in your preparation I don't think."

While it would seemingly be a big advantage to have far and away the world No. 1 player on the roster, Nicklaus said that Woods' intimidation factor could conceivably work against him.

"I'm not sure that the intimidation doesn't even go to his partners," said Nicklaus, noting that Woods' record in the four-ball competition (2-6) hasn't been particularly good. "Alternate-shot, he's done very well. So, I don't know. And I think that a lot of it has to do with, here is a guy that's No. 1 player in the world, and he's just come off of a tournament series that he's just won, he's won the previous major, it's a natural letdown for a fella to have that."

However, Nicklaus said Woods gave him some reassurance that he's fully ready to go this week.

"He said to me when I saw him yesterday, he says, 'Captain, don't worry about it, I'm ready,'" Nicklaus said. "He said he's ready to play and he wants to play so, that's part is good."

Presidents Cup rosters

U.S. Team: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III, Davis Toms, Scott Verplank, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink, Woody Austin, Lucas Glover, Hunter Mahan.

International Team: Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Geoff Ogilvy, Rory Sabbatini, K.J. Choi, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman, Stuart Appleby, Mike Weir, Nick O'Hern.

Presidents Cup Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 27: Foursomes (six matches), 1:10 EDT (TNT).
Friday, Sept. 28: Four-ball (six matches), 11:35 a.m. EDT (TNT.
Saturday, Sept. 29: Foursomes (five matches), 7 a.m. EDT; Four-ball (five matches), 11:15 a.m. EDT (NBC).
Sunday, Sept. 30: Singles (12 matches), 11:15 a.m. EDT (NBC).

September 27, 2007

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