Skip to main content

Dream Match Only a Dream for Now

MONTREAL -- What should have been a laid-back Tuesday afternoon at Royal Montreal seemed more like a hectic Saturday afternoon, with the focus already on Sunday singles at the Presidents Cup.
The questions were relentless and repetitive, all seeking a definitive answer that would never come, nor should it at this point in time, with Thursdays foursomes on the immediate horizon.
Still, there was an obsession with a dream match that would put Canadian home boy Mike Weir against the worlds No. 1 player Tiger Woods in a similar showdown as when Woods dueled with Ernie Els in a playoff four years ago in South Africa.
Its a concept that American captain Jack Nicklaus finds intriguing, but needs the cooperation of his International counterpart Gary Player and Weir himself to pull it off.
I think Gary and I will have to talk about it. I think it will be great if Mike Weir played Tiger this time. I think that would be a great match. I think its the logical thing to try to do, but Mike might not want to play him, said Nicklaus.
I have no idea if Gary wants to do that or not and I have no idea if Tiger wants to do that.
The idea definitely does have its appeal from an entertainment point of view, something both Nicklaus and Player deem important. With 28,000 paid customers per day expected at Royal Montreal, the buzz would be electric, but attention on that one match could be overwhelming.
Its also fair to wonder whether it would be a fair fight. While Woods has been red-hot this season, Weir has been tepid at best after reconstructing his swing and changing his coach.
A former Masters champion would seem perfectly suited to face Woods, but another loss on home soil dampened Weirs fortunes after he lost the 2004 Canadian Open to Vijay Singh in a playoff. He has never seemed the same since then, even though Weir will deny that theory.
Ive played with Mike quite a bit over the years, said Woods. I know hes gone through a significant swing change and hes starting to putt a little better now. Its great to have him on the International squad, especially here in Canada. I think that definitely adds to the event.
In other words, Tiger isnt biting on the Sunday question and neither is Weir. Thats tough for me to answer that. We want to win. If Im playing really well, Id love the chance to play him, said Weir.
It might be icing on the cake for me to get a chance to get in there and possibly beat him. I know come Sunday in singles, we just want to pair up who is going to match up the best. Gary wants to make sure that we do the right thing, not just for myself to put me against Tiger, but for everybody.
Player has several considerations before giving in to temptation on the dream match. For one thing, Aussie Nick OHern has beaten Woods twice at the Accenture Match Play Championship, while Els play was admirable in the playoff four years ago that earned his team a tie against the Americans. This years International team is considered the strongest so far in the Presidents Cup, so its unlikely that Player would go for a Weir-Woods match unless it made sense.
In the meantime, the focus for both Player and Nicklaus is putting together their teams for Thursday's foursomes. We basically have our teams for the first two days, said Player. After todays round, we might tweak it a bit, but I dont think so. If you want to know about it, I cant tell you.
Woods, who has struggled with Phil Mickelson as his partner, has apparently picked three players to team up with, likely Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker or Charles Howell III, but says who youre teamed with is often overcooked in match play.
Weve tried all different things throughout the years from personalities to like distances off the tees to same golf balls. Basically, what it boils down to is two guys playing well.
Email your thoughts to Ian Hutchinson
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
    Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.