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Norman & Couples Adjust Lineups for Four-Ball Matches
Captains Greg Norman for the International team and Fred Couples of the Americans made some pairing alterations for Day 2 of the Presidents Cup. The second day of the four-day biennial event involves six four-ball matches.
One of the notable changes is that Tiger Woods will have a different partner Thursday. Instead of Steve Stricker, he will be matched with Dustin Johnson. In the opening foursomes, Woods and Stricker got vanquished 7 and 6 by Adam Scott and K.J. Choi.
Couples said that all along he planned to split up Woods and Stricker in the four-balls. "We were going to do that on Tuesday and Wednesday," Couples said of putting Woods with Johnson.
Norman also split up the powerful combo of Scott and Choi. On Thursday Scott, who's played Royal Melbourne often, will be paired with K.T. Kim, who lacks experience on the historic course. "K.T. has never played in a north-northwest wind," Norman said. "It's going to be crucial for him getting direction."
Meanwhile, the other four teams on each squad are unchanged for Friday's tee times:
9:35 a.m.: Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson vs. Ernie Els/Ryo Ishikawa
9:49 a.m.: Dustin Johnson/Tiger Woods vs. Aaron Baddeley/Jason Day
10:03 a.m.: Phil Mickelson/Jim Furyk vs. Adam Scott/K.T. Kim
10:17 a.m.: Bill Haas/Nick Watney vs. Geoff Ogilvy/K.J. Choi
10:31 a.m.: Matt Kuchar/Steve Stricker vs. Y.E. Yang/Robert Allenby
10:45 a.m.: David Toms/Hunter Mahan vs. Retief Goosen/Charl Schwartzel
Here's the full transcript of the announcement of the Day 2 pairings.
Good afternoon, pairings for the second round, Captain Norman picked first in the first round, and so Captain Couples will pick first in the second round.
FRED COUPLES: We'll put Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson first.
GREG NORMAN: We'll go with Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa.
GREG NORMAN: We'll go Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go with Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson.
FRED COUPLES: We'll go with Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Furyk.
GREG NORMAN: We'll go with Adam Scott and Kyung-tae Kim.
GREG NORMAN: We'll go with Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi.
FRED COUPLES: Dinner's not till 7:30.
GREG NORMAN: I'm thirsty. (Laughing).
FRED COUPLES: (Discussing with assistants). We'll go with Bill Haas, Nick Watney.
FRED COUPLES: Steve Stricker, Matte Kuchar.
GREG NORMAN: Y.E. Yang and Robert Allenby.
GREG NORMAN: And then obviously the last pairing is the last pairing, Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen.
JAY HAAS: Do we have to announce, that Hunter and Toms.
MODERATOR: Gentlemen, we'll just get some quick comments on how things went for each of you. Captain Couples, we'll have you go first and then Greg, and then some questions about today and tomorrow's pairings.
FRED COUPLES: Well, obviously, point-wise, we are more excited than we were an hour and a half before the day ended. But that's happened before, and our guys fought hard. Like Greg, we had one easy match and we had two semi-lopsided matches. But really, the end of the day, it was Billy Haas and Nick Watney getting a half a point from Schwartzel and Ogilvy. It was an unbelievable match. And then as you saw at the end, Dustin Johnson made a very nice putt to get a half a point. You know, 3½ to 2½ is great. Obviously 4-2, we are excited about that.
GREG NORMAN: At the opposite end of the spectrum, we are disappointed in the 2-4 result. My guys felt like they let a few matches slip away, no question about it. But they all understand, it's the game of golf. It does happen. Their heads are really held high. They are not worried about the next three days going forward. They are actually looking forward to it. They all feel like they are playing extremely good golf. They know the weather conditions are going to change a little bit; at adaptation to the golf course and the conditions coming forth over the next three days are going to be different than what it was today. You know, we didn't get the job done at the end of the day. It's unfortunate for us we are behind, but we believe we can no doubt catch up and probably catch up in our belief tomorrow.
Q. Can you talk about splitting up Tiger and Wednesday?
FRED COUPLES: We were going to do that Tuesday and Wednesday, we were going to putt Tiger with Dustin in best-ball, and that's what we did and we stuck to that. You know, they wanted to go behind Bubba and Webb Simpson to get off second, and we put them there. We thought Hunter and Toms would be a clean up. So that's why we did all of that. But Tiger and Steve did not play well today. Adam and K.J. were much better. But in the long run, you know, we have four points, and some of our young guys played extremely well.
Q. Can you talk about Adam Scott and K.J. played great together, can you talk about why you broke that team up tomorrow?
GREG NORMAN: The format today, the alternate-shot, was completely different than what it is tomorrow. The other factor is that getting to know the lines off the tees, with the weather conditions coming in tomorrow, Kyung-tae Kim has never played in a north/northwest wind around Royal Melbourne. It's a completely different golf course than what we have had today. Adam has played in the north/northwest, and he knows the lines off the tee; it's going to be crucial. Him giving direction, K.T. was very excited, because he doesn't know the golf course that well. And today, basically he was a little bit off his lines with his tee shots, because Y.E. wasn't too sure, either. With the weather conditions coming in tomorrow, Adam was very happy to take the lead and to bring somebody underneath his wings who has never played the golf course in those conditions. That's why we decided to putt Kyung-tae Kim with him.
Q. Is that the same reason why Ishikawa is still with Ernie tomorrow?
GREG NORMAN: That's correct.
Q. It seems like every Presidents Cup, the Internationals don't get off to a good start, or rarely do. Were you thinking with an hour and a half to go, this was going to be our session, and how disappointing was those last few matches?
GREG NORMAN: Well, the last hour, hour and a half, I thought it would be a push. I thought it would be 3-3. I thought that would be a very fitting end by the way the matches had gone. Obviously the Scott/K.J. match had pushed it out and there was a few other blowouts, as well. I figured the end result of a 3-3 would be a great result. For me, I'm disappointed for my guys. I'm disappointed for the guys who felt like they let the thing slip. There's no worse feeling than letting down your other 11 team members or ten team members. Sometimes you feel worse for the player than the player feels for himself but they don't know that. That's just the way it goes.
These guys are trying their guts out to put points on the board and they were playing very, very well coming to the end of the day. You know, it's just the way it played out unfortunately, for us. But I think that they are not intimidated by the fact that they lost this session. They are still very, very high-spirited, very keen to go play. And we knew coming in here that playing the Americans is not an easy deal. They are used to alternate-shot. They are used to playing together a lot together. We have got to get that chemistry very quickly from a Monday to a Thursday morning. Sometimes it works very, very quickly and sometimes it doesn't. Now, you know, just in the conversations we have had in our team room, the guys are really positive looking forward, which to me is a big uplift.
Q. You watched quite a bit of the Adam and Tiger match. Given the pressure that was on Adam, your thoughts on how he handled and how well he played under the extra scrutiny?
GREG NORMAN: Well, Adam played fantastic. Like I said, I don't think there was anything between Adam Scott and Tiger or Adam Scott and Steve Stricker or Adam Scott and K.J. Choi. I knew Adam was playing great golf. I watched him play in the practice rounds. I knew K.J. was playing typical K.J. golf, never misses a beat. So those two were going to be very formidable, no matter who they were playing against. At the end of the day, I'm happy that they won the point that they won. I'm happy Adam feels extremely confident about his game and same with K.J. K.J. said, "I'm ready to go with anybody. You can put me with anybody." Same way with Adam. Those two guys, they are definitely okay from playability-wise and confidence-wise, at the end of the day, they got their job done.
Q. Both Furyk and Mickelson were a little surprised they were paired together because historically, at least over the last five or six Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, they have been the mentors and getting younger guys. They were surprised and happy they were paired together. Can you talk about why you decided to pair them together?
FRED COUPLES: It's just the way they fit. You mentioned Phil a lot of times plays with younger players. This particular time, we put Bill Haas and Nick Watney together, because we felt they had some good energy together. And we also thought at the end of the day, that, you know, David Toms and Phil could play, but Phil is a little bit of a ringleader and he came up and said, "I want to play with Jim Furyk." That's kind of how the three of us -- I'm sure Greg does it the same way. Guys will come up to you and other guys, you have to pair together. Bill Haas is not going to come up to me and say, hey, I want to play with Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. It goes the other way around, and a lot of times, Phil has taken a younger player under his wing. This time, I think they will probably play a lot this week.
Q. Have you spoken to Aaron, and what can you say, what have you said to him, Aaron Baddeley, about the last couple of holes?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I said it on the 18th green. I said, "Just keep your head high, and it's not a one-round tournament, it's a four-round tournament." There's three days to go and it's very, very early. In the team room, I said what I said about five minutes ago. Sometimes I know I feel probably worse than Aaron feels, because you know how he feels. You know he's carrying the weight of everybody else. I said, "Look, just keep your head high. Just suck it up. It's over and done with. It's water over the dam and just accept it and it's done. You could have shot 62 and lost a point, but it didn't work out that way." Now he feels better. Now he's okay, and he knows he's playing well. He hit one bad shot in 18 holes. If he looks back over it, all of the great putts he made and all of the great shots he hit, take all of those away from the day, don't take away that poor tee shot on 18.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.