Appearing with international captain Gary Player on Wednesday at a press conference to promote the September matches, Nicklaus said he takes players' wishes into account while serving as captain.
'I don't think anybody should play with anybody they don't want to play with,' Nicklaus said. 'I've asked the players: 'Guys, very quietly, if you want to, come to me and tell me if there's somebody you want to play with or somebody you don't want to play with.''
Nicklaus' position is in contrast to that of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton, who paired Tiger Woods with Phil Mickelson despite their cool relationship. The pair looked uncomfortable on the course and lost twice as Europe defeated the U.S. team 18 1/2-9 1/2.
Nicklaus and Player said they don't believe in a militant approach to the captaincy.
'These guys didn't get in this team by being motivated by somebody else,' Nicklaus said. 'I think what I say to them is basically be their friend, accommodate them, make sure I have plenty of tees, extra spikes, fresh towels, sunscreen.'
Said Player: 'I don't believe in that blood and guts approach. You don't have to start brainwashing your players.'
The collegial approach the two bring to the Presidents Cup was on display in 2003, when they agreed to share the cup after the teams remained tied after regulation and three playoff holes between Woods and Ernie Els.
The PGA has changed the format, eliminating playoff holes and declaring a tie if the match is deadlocked at the end of regulation.
The Americans are 3-1-1 against the International team in the Presidents Cup. The matches will be held at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, which has hosted every Presidents Cup played in the United States since the event was founded in 1994.
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