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American's will be at home at Fancourt layout

The Internationals go into this week's Presidents Cup against the United States banking on home advantage, but Ernie Els believes the American team will benefit more from the venue.

Although the par-73 Links course at Fancourt was designed by Gary Player, captain of the 12-man Internationals line-up, Els expects the U.S. players to thrive in conditions very similar to those they regularly face on the PGA Tour.

"The playability of the golf course is not going to suit us (as much) because you've got to put the ball in the air," Els told reporters after a practice round on Monday.

"It's called a links but it doesn't play like a links. You have to put the ball in the air.

"There are maybe two or three holes where you can actually run the ball in. The rest of them, you've got to hit the ball in the air and obviously that's the way the U.S. players like it."

Three-times major winner Els, who is likely to take on world number one Tiger Woods in the last-day singles on Sunday, is the only player on either side who had played the 7,489-yard course before the start of this week.

The big-hitting South African has a home close to the Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate outside George, and he will make the best possible use of his local knowledge for his International team mates during the Ryder Cup-style event.

"I think with Gary as designer of the golf course that will also make a difference," he said. "I think Gary is going to walk with us and tell us where to hit it and where not to hit it.

"I have played the course a few times and I can maybe help him out a little bit. But it's going to a tough challenge for everyone. I think I've broken 70 here, but the first time I played here I shot 77!

"There are a couple of holes there that are really difficult and, if the wind blows, you can make any number there.

"But I think it will be a fun match-play course, because you can go out there and play the hole in a certain way, make a four or a five, and the other guy might have a lost ball -- it's just that difficult.

"You could shoot level par and win the match, and that doesn't happen too often in match play."

The fifth edition of the Presidents Cup will start on Thursday with the opening six foursomes matches. Friday will feature five fourball matches in the morning, followed by five foursome matches in the afternoon.

Six fourball matches will be played on Saturday before the trophy is decided over the closing 12 singles matches on Sunday.

The U.S. have won on all the three occasions that the team competition has been held on American soil, while the Internationals tasted victory the first time the event was moved abroad -- to Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia, in 1998.

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