Let the Games Begin

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In the end, everybody showed. Nobody ducked out. Schedules were cleared. Flights were made. And the Presidents Cup got the dream field its organizers were hoping for.
 
The resultant buzz is almost palpable. And thats something new for an event that is seen by too many people as a poor relation to its big brother, the Ryder Cup.
 
The Presidents Cup is growing up.
 
Thursday morning in South Africa on the Links at Fancourt, a golf course only Ernie Els, among the 24 competitors, had played prior to last Sunday, the matches will begin. A total of 34 points will be available.
 
The top nine players in the most recent Official World Golf Ranking and 17 of the top 22 will be at Fancourt. World No. 1 Tiger Woods was the first American player to arrive and was on the course Sunday and Monday. Awesome, he said when asked to describe Fancourts 7,489-yard layout.
 
Part of the buzz surrounded the much-anticipated Sunday singles match between Woods and Els. Since the captains can engineer their singles picks in an alternate pick fashion (unlike the Ryder Cup), we may get this cage match between the No. 1- and No. 3-ranked players in the world, respectively.
 
In fact there are rumors, fanned by Els, when he said his pairing against Woods is set in concrete, that it has been prearranged. International team captain Gary Player has denied this. But dont be surprised if it happens.
 
Personally, Id like to see Vijay Singh, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, play U.S. rookie Jerry Kelly in the singles.
 
Why?
 
Kellys current caddie is Paul Tesori. Tesori caddied for Singh as recently as this year and was the instigator of the quiet feud that has existed between Woods and Singh ever since the 2000 Presidents Cup matches. Thats when Tesori wore a cap that said Tiger who? on the back while looping for Singh in his singles match against Woods. Woods failed to see the humor and defeated Singh decisively that day.
 
What I want to know is if Kelly draws Singh, will Tesori wear a cap that says, Vijay who? on the back.
 
I also want to know if the Internationals will ambush the Americans like they did at Royal Melbourne in Australia five years ago.
 
Lots of story lines. Lots of intrigue. But most important of all, an impressive collection of the best players in the world.
 
Patriotism is very important, said Jim Furyk, putting it all in perspective. But probably more important'is really these countries intermixing. This is definitely on a small scale in the world of golf but I think the message in the world is really that people are coming from all different countries.
 
And in the end this week, everybody showed.
 
I think its pretty cool, said Aussie Robert Allenby.
 
Pretty cool, indeed.
 
This is going to be a great spectacle, said Zimbabwes Nick Price.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt