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Tigermania takes over World Cup

The Argentine press were merciless in the questions they put to David Duval during an eve of tournament interview at the World Cup.

"How does it feel playing second fiddle to Tiger Woods," the American was asked. "If America win, people will say it was all down to Tiger. If they lose, you will get the blame."

Duval blinked and was about to answer when another local, clearly feeling that the question had not been sufficiently to the point, chipped in. "Tiger's a one-man show, right?"

To his great credit, Duval gave a kindly smile and agreed that Woods was indeed a one-man show. He said it did not bother him over much. Then he hazarded that if he had been the one to have won 10 tournaments and three majors this year, everyone would be talking about him.

The World Cup format has changed since Woods and Mark O'Meara played together in winning last year in Kuala Lumpur. Now, instead of each competitor playing his own ball for all four rounds, the first and third rounds will be four-ball better-ball, with the second and fourth foursomes.

Everyone sees it as an improvement. Not only will it spell an end to the six-hour expeditions of the past but it could give other countries a better chance of keeping up with Woods and Duval.

On paper, Spain are the strongest after the Americans in that Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal have the second-best combination of world rankings - hardly close-run as Jimenez is 27th and Olazabal 34th as against Woods, first, and Duval fourth.

If the strong Argentine combination of Eduardo Romero and Angel Cabrera were to win, it would be the first triumph for Argentina since Roberto de Vicenzo and Antonia Cerda won in the event's first year, 1953. Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, the Ireland pair, both know what it is to have won the World Cup, as they triumphed in 1997 at Kiawah Island.

 

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