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Singh vs Woods match set for Presidents Cup

Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods have been battling for No. 1 all year, mostly on paper through the world golf ranking. They didn't meet in the Match Play Championship, and rarely do the top two players meet in the final group of a major, or any PGA Tour event.

That's what could make the Presidents Cup so appealing.

Instead of a blind draw, Sunday singles matches work like a draft, with the captains taking turns putting their players in the lineup. A good show usually takes precedence over strategy, which leads to compelling matches. Nick Price was No. 1 in the world in 1994 when he played the best American, Fred Couples. Woods faced Greg Norman in 1998 at Royal Melbourne in Australia, and he played Ernie Els two years ago at Fancourt in South Africa.

Now that the matches are back in America, Sept. 22-25 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia, it would seem logical for the captains to put Woods and Singh together.

``I don't know what the players want to do,'' U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus said. ``We discussed it down there (South Africa) that Ernie wanted to play Tiger, and Tiger wanted to play Ernie. We thought it was the right thing for that venue. We'll have to wait and see.''

There already is one vote for a Woods-Singh match.

``I'd love to have it,'' Woods said. ``That would be fun. I've never been one to back off a challenge. I think he would want to play me.''

They were the featured match at RTJ in 2000, the year Singh won the Masters and Woods won the other three majors. Making that match even more memorable was that Singh's caddie, Paul Tesori, playfully wrote ``Tiger Who?'' on his cap. Woods took it personally.

Both players refused to concede 2-foot putts, and Woods won, 2 and 1.

Tesori is back on the bag for Singh, prompting Woods to say, ``Maybe I should write 'Tiger Who?' on my cap.''

Nicklaus says he usually lets the players decide whom they want to play, although that wasn't the case in Australia, where the International team won handily.

The natural fit was Woods-Norman, but Nicklaus said the Shark wanted no part of Woods that year. Norman had only been playing one month after missing most of the year with shoulder surgery, and International captain Peter Thomson tried to honor the request.

``Tiger told me, 'I want Greg if you can get him,''' Nicklaus said. ``Thomson said, 'Greg asked me to stay away from him, and I said, 'Well, you do the best you can to keep him away, and I'll do the best I can to get him.' That's what my guy asked me to do.''

Woods outlasted Norman, 1 up, although the International team had already won the cup.

 

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