But he knows thats assuming there is nothing left in the American arsenal. Number 1, he says, that assumption is just not true. And No. 2, its difficult to argue with the final result of last years Presidents Cup, which was won by the Americans. Deciding which players to team up, after all, is a very iffy business.
I think that there are so many different ways to pair players and so many different ideas, says Furyk on the eve of the Ryder Cup. Some people say you want to pair games. Other people want to pair personalities. Sometimes you want people with similar personalities.
And then I've heard (you pair) opposites. You stick, like, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia together. They're good friends, but their personalities couldn't be further apart - but it seems to work out well.
Last September, the Presidents Cup captain was Jack Nicklaus, and Furyk began the week battling a rib injury. The Presidents has a different schedule ' competition is held in five matches on Thursday and five on Friday, instead of a morning-and-afternoon session on Friday and Saturday with four matches each session as in the Ryder Cup.
So Furyk teamed with Fred Funk in the opener Thursday and they halved with Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera playing in foursomes (alternate-shot). Woods played with Fred Couples and that duo was summarily dusted by Adam Scott and Retief Goosen, 4-and-3.
Furyk was busy getting treatment for the rib injury when word came that Nicklaus planned to pair Jim and Tiger for Fridays fourball (better-ball) matches. Furyk was thrilled ' he had been lobbying for the pairing since the Ryder Cup in 1997. And the twosome downed Stuart Appleby and Mark Hensby, 3-2.
He (Woods) basically whipped them, said Furyk. Furyk won a hole when both he and Woods had 10-footers and Furyk holed first. And, On the last hole I knocked in about a 6-footer for birdie to win the match. And that's about all I helped the whole day. The rest of the time I could have just watched because he played so well.
That was Friday. On Saturday, the Presidents Cup format included both a morning session and an afternoon session. Because the pairing was successful Friday, Furyk expected to be teamed again with Tiger. But Furyk expected to play just one match, since he was still slightly favoring his ribs.
Jack looked at me (Friday) and said, 'Can you go tomorrow? I said, I'll be fine to play 18. But the guy who was treating me said that 36 probably wasn't a good idea.
Nicklaus, obviously, had other plans.
On my way to the pairings, he told my wife be sure I'm ready to go two rounds the next day. She said, OK. On the bus ride home he said, You're playing 36 tomorrow. I said, No, I told him 18. Well, he told me 36. I said, OK, I'll be ready.
That's kind of how it went. So I think how that pairing came about, I'm not sure, but Jack put us together and we hit it off pretty well and he kept us together.
Tiger, of course, was thrilled.
Believe it or not, Jim and I play the game the same way, said Woods. It's just, I hit the ball further. But our belief in how we play the game, strategically, how we read greens, the philosophical way of getting around the golf course, we're almost identical.
So when we paired up, it was great. It was like we were playing the same game. When we were reading each other's putts, it was great, because we read putts exactly the same way. Some guys read putts totally differently and sometimes you have to make that adjustment and it's hard to make that type of adjustment because you're not used to hearing that type of information. Jim and I, I think we were a fantastic team then, and hopefully Tom will let us go out there together again.
It seemed obvious to Tiger that was a pairing that would work way back nine years ago, when Woods and Furyk were first-timers on the Ryder Cup.
Jim and I have been suggesting that pairing since '97, Tiger said. We like to go out there together, and it's never happened because everyone sees that I hit the ball further than Jim and they think that we have very dissimilar games. But I think we have very similar games.
And Furyk, just as obviously, is not about to disagree. Nicklaus was the first to do it, Jack even twisted a few arms (and maybe a back) to keep it going. But Furyk is very, very pleased.
We (Furyk and Woods) get along real well, he says. We have obviously different styles of game, and he has a lot more power than I do, but we tend to think our way around the golf course similarly, and we read putts very much alike.
And our attitudes out there are very much alike. I enjoy the banter and the talk and he's a friend and someone that I - he's actually very witty and very funny. But yet, there's not many people that have the opportunity to get close to him.
But thats OK with Furyk. He just hopes that he has the opportunity to get a W while playing with Woods.
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