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USA seeking defence of UBS Cup

The Americans have never lost the UBS Cup, which returns to South Carolina this week for the fourth competition in the Ryder Cup-style event.

And some on the American team think the United States' loss in the Ryder Cup in September will provide extra incentive to keep the UBS Cup streak alive.

``I think there may be a little bit of thought in the back of the American team's mind to get even,'' Tom Watson said.

``Certainly, the Americans are not pleased with the way the Ryder Cup came out this time and, you know, we need to do something to right the ship,'' American teammate Tom Kite agreed.

Four golfers from Ryder Cup teams are among the 24 golfers playing in this week's UBS Cup. They include U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton and Bernhard Langer, who captained the European Ryder Cup team.

The Americans won the first two UBS Cups, but after a tie last year at Sea Island in Georgia, perhaps this is the year the team from the rest of the world breaks through in the $3 million competition.

``On paper the U.S. team looks stronger,'' said Langer, of Germany. ``But we have a pretty good team, too, and if we play the way we are capable, we have a chance to win.''

Watson said it's hard to predict the outcome from the lineups.

``When you looked at the Ryder Cup on paper, it looked pretty even, but it didn't come out that way,'' he said.

``This has very little to do with the Ryder Cup,'' Langer added. ``But, on the other hand, every time you kind of beat America it feels like, oh, they are not invincible.''

This week's tournament features alternate shot, best ball and singles matches on the Kiawah Island Club's Cassique Course, a 6,965-yard, par-72 layout designed, coincidentally, by Watson.

``I think it gives me an advantage,'' he said. ``Any time you build a golf course, you understand where you can hit it and where you can't hit it better than the players who have seen it just a few times.''

The UBS competition pits two 12-man teams. Each team has six players ages 40-49, while the other six are 50 and older.

Arnold Palmer, who has never been the captain of a losing team in international play, is again captain for the Americans. Gary Player, after a one-year absence, returns to serve as captain for the team from the rest of the world.

The inaugural UBS Cup was held three years ago a short distance away at Kiawah's Ocean Course, which was also the site of last year's World Cup won by South Africa's Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.

Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Ga., where the UBS Cup was held the past two years, is undergoing renovations and the tournament returned to Kiawah, which is about 20 miles southwest of Charleston.

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