Players Wary of Course

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GEORGE, South Africa -- The International and U.S. teams agree that the Presidents Cup will hinge on decisions made off the tees at the 7,489-yard Links course at the Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate.
 
'The course rewards being strategic off the tees,' Tiger Woods said Tuesday at a news conference after the first official practice round. 'You have to pick your direction, but also your distance you want to hit the ball off the tee.'
 
The four-day tournament starting Thursday features an International team minus Europeans, against the United States.
 
Nine of the world's top 10 players are in action, and 20 of the top 30.
 
Gary Player, who designed the course, is captain of the International team, while Jack Nicklaus heads the U.S. team.
 
The already difficult course has been made even faster by recent hot weather and a lack of rain in the area.
 
'Golf was never meant to be a fair game. You don't have to like a shot, but you have got to play it,' Nicklaus said about the conditions.
 
One man who approves of the way the course is playing is Zimbabwe's Nick Price, who has played in all previous four Presidents Cups since the tournament's inception in 1994.
 
'It is pretty long, but I think it's a positional golf course, very strategic off the tee. Controlling the distance you hit the ball off the tee is important,' he said.
 
Ernie Els, who has a home on the estate, was also wary of the speed at which the course was playing.
 
'Your second shots into the greens are quite tricky. The greens are very undulating, and you can't really get the ball to stop on the first bounce,' he said.
 
Davis Love III agreed.
 
'It's tricky off the tee. You have to be very selective in what clubs you hit, and certainly in the alternate-shot format, you're going to have to get some balls into play to be competitive,' he said.
 
One of the outcomes of the speed of the course is that all the players are hitting the ball very long.
 
'Actually, Kenny Perry today hit one over 400 yards on one hole. Caught one of the downslopes and just kind of went,' Woods said.
 
Related Links:
  • Meet the Teams
  • Full Coverage - The Presidents Cup
     
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