4am texts prove Tiger means business
The early morning text messages flying from the phone of Tiger Woods are evidence enough that the greatest golfer ever is leaving no stone left unturned in pursuit of another Presidents Cup win.
When Woods took the role as captain of team USA he jokingly raised the prospect of being a playing-skipper, which became a reality on the back of his stunning on-course resurgence.
It's created a whole new element to an event the Americans have dominated in recent years, the last two victories coming without Woods hitting a ball.
But with one eye firmly on his own game, captain Woods has dived in to his multitude of new jobs and Justin Thomas revealed the frequent communication was just one example of how seriously the first-time skipper had prepared for Royal Melbourne.
"You definitely get more texts between 1 and 4am than any captain, that's for sure," said Thomas, who is likely to play with Woods in Thursday's opening round.
"He take it's very seriously and he's, I mean he wants to be, he wants to be a captain that has a great winning record and he wants to, he wants all of us to feel comfortable.
"And he wants there to be a lot of transparency, he doesn't want there to be a lot of unknowns and I think that's something that he's done very well with.
"It's like any time we're together he's asking me questions, and I'm like, 'Dude, we already talked about this. You don't need to go too into it'.
"I mean, I know his competitive side. He's never done."
Woods playing role this week remains a mystery with original plans to play the minimum twice seemingly moving closer to playing as many as four times.
His competitive desires and a "let me do it" attitude could compel the 15-time major winner, who also won two tournaments this year, to take matters in to his own hands.
But the 43-year-old, who conceded to still feeling the effects of what turned out to be a 26-hour trip to Melbourne when he was practising on Tuesday, said he would put the team's goals first in every instance.
"Whatever we deem as the best possible order for our team, that's what we're going to run with," Woods said.
His team will start as overwhelming favourites, a notion enhanced purely by Woods presence. But the captain won't let his star-studded team get lost in any hype.
Woods means business, which is an ominous sign for an International team desperate to break their losing cycle.
"For us, there are no press clippings. That's very simple," he said.
"Each and every Cup, each and every tournament we play in around the world starts out at zero and this one is the same. So nothing changes."
LEISHMAN DRIVEN TO BEAT USA
Aussie star Marc Leishman is doing everything he can to avoid thinking about the "truck" being driven by US captain Tiger Woods the International team's way at Royal Melbourne.
After playing in two defeated Presidents Cup teams and watching seven straight losses for the Internationals, Leishman wants to herald a new era with a youth-filled outfit not scarred by the past.
It's a message the Victorian has been spreading in team meetings, urging his playing mates to find their "fire" when play gets under way on Thursday.
"I don't think you want to talk about losing too much," he said.
"It's like driving down the highway - you don't want to talk about the truck that's coming straight at you because you'll probably drive into it.
"So you don't want to feed that losing, but yeah, it's not fun and we've talked about it, and I really want to get that fire from the very start.
"It's a pretty young team and these guys are going to be on the team for 10, 15 years to come.
"I feel like this could be the start of a new era. Hopefully we can get it really, really competitive, because it hasn't been."
International captain Ernie Els made his ambitions for the week abundantly clear as he stared down and opposition captain Tiger Woods yesterday.
"It's been a real privilege to have played in his era," Els said.
"Where the game of golf has gone in the last 25 years is just remarkable, and it could not be where it is today if it wasn't for Tiger Woods.
"But with all that being said and done, you know, we'd like to kick their ar--- this week."
Leishman has been holding on to his Presidents Cup desires since he getting soaked in the grandstand while watching the 1998 victory, the only one for the International team.
It's a mood that is filtering throughout the 2019 outfit, including veteran South African Louis Oosthuizen, a three-time victim of team USA's dominance.
Oosthuizen said another shellacking could be one too many and that now was the time, and Royal Melbourne was the course, to turn things around.
"I'm pretty sure if you ask Adam (Scott), who has played nine and would love to get a win, I think it gets to a stage where it gets difficult to motivate the guys," Oosthuizen said.
"We are trying to change that whole mindset and I think the way our guys are playing, as well, I think this is probably the best chance that we'll have in the four Cups that I've played."