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Internationals favourites for Presidents Cup

The first four Presidents Cup encounters have all been won by the home team and both non-playing captains at Fancourt agree that the Internationals start this week's showdown as favourites.

U.S. skipper Jack Nicklaus believes his side's opponents are more accustomed to the local conditions while his opposite number Gary Player rates his line-up as superior to the European team that triumphed at last year's Ryder Cup.

"I would say that the International team would be the favourite this week," 18-times major winner Nicklaus told a news conference on Tuesday. "I don't think there's any question about that coming into this event.

"They are certainly far more accustomed to the type of conditions. Even though they are widespread from around the world, I think they are, on paper, a stronger team," added Nicklaus, widely regarded as the greatest golfer in history.

Player, who captains the Internationals for the first time this week on the Links course he designed, is confident his team can challenge strongly for their first triumph in the competition since Melbourne in 1998.

"If I may say so, I really believe we have a better team than the European Ryder Cup at this moment," he said. "I think this is going to lend itself to a great match."

The 67-year-old South African added that he had been delighted by how quickly his team had bonded.

"Jack's team are all Americans, they come from one country," he said. "My team come from all over the world, and I think it's remarkable how well they have gelled.

"Obviously, one has to try to emphasise team spirit, and it's been so easy. They are oozing with it.

"I thought it might be a little bit more difficult getting that to take place, but they are automatically doing it."

Nicklaus and Player will announce their pairings for Thursday's six opening foursome matches on Wednesday

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