MONTREAL - The Canadians got their wish.
Presidents Cup team captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player agreed on a Tiger Woods-Mike Weir pairing for Sunday's singles matches, a scenario that's been talked about since the Cup kicked off earlier this week.
Canadian Weir has been the hands-on crowd favorite this week, and Woods looks set to experience something he's not used to: Galleries being against him.
"We're not against [Woods], we're for Mike," one fan said.
International Team members were quick to defend the match-up, denying that it was a token move with the Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club.
"I think Mike has earned the right to represent us against the No. 1 golfer in the world," said Australian Stuart Appleby. "He's obviously a player who has got some form, has found some form and has shown some form."
Said Ernie Els, "I think the way he's played all week, he's earned his spot."
"I think it will be a fun match," Woods said. "We're great friends, have been for years, and I think we're really looking forward to it."
Nicklaus asked his squad in the locker room following today's round whether anybody wanted to play someone in particular. When all answered that they had no preference, Nicklaus said he gave Woods a chance to opt out of a match with Weir.
"He had the choice to do it or duck it, and he didn't duck it," Nicklaus said.
Before the Weir-Woods match-up was announced, many feared the significant American lead - 14.5 points to 7.5 points - would render Sunday's matches largely meaningless. The International squad, after all, has to win 10 of the 12 matches.
Many fans were overheard quipping that they'd sell their Sunday ticket.
But not everybody.
Rosalind Leslie, from Ottawa, said she'd come no matter what.
"Canadians would still come," she said. "Americans come to see someone win, Canadians come to see the whole event."
Crammed up along the bottom of a sound booth on No. 7, a large collection of beer cans had grown by the middle of the day: some 10 empties glimmered in the sun, along with a half dozen empty water bottles, a scene from a corner in a frat house basement.
When Nicklaus arrived on site, he considered the scene. An assistant wondered, "How could anybody drink all that and not go to the bathroom 10 times?"
"At my age," Nicklaus responded, "that would be 40 trips to the bathroom."
Standing behind a nearby rope, Jerry Goldman from Tupper Lake, N.Y., had one unopened Coors at his feet. He called over to Nicklaus and offered it to him. Things at that point were going well for the Americans, but the Golden Bear declined.
Woody Austin has had a lot to say this week about his passion for team events, about the how badly he's always wanted to play in the Presidents Cup, about taking that cold dip in the water hazard by No. 14.
Off the course, Austin gets a little more introspective, and lets out his secret to being confident. The trick, he says, is to know your limitations.
"I'm the best example of good at everything, but the master of nothing," he said. "There's only one master of our sport, and we all know who that is."
With the Americans leading the Presidents Cup by seven points, they are within striking distance of the most lop-sided victory in Cup history.
That belongs to their 2000 win, when they beat the International squad by 11 points, 21.5-10.5.
He's not making many headlines, but David Toms is quietly having the best Presidents Cup among either team. Toms has won three and a half points for the Americans, and he's yet to drop a match. His Cup record this year is 3-0-1.
September 30, 2007
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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