GREG Norman thinks the match-up is "inevitable", while Fred Couples believes it "would be fun". Tiger Woods, for one, would have no problem playing against Adam Scott and his former caddie, Steve Williams, this week. Indeed, his mood said "bring it on".

Woods was talking at Royal Melbourne yesterday, the venue for the Presidents Cup, which starts tomorrow. The International team, led by Norman, have not beaten the US, led by Couples, since this Ryder Cup wannabe was last staged in Melbourne 13 years ago.

The prospect of Woods facing Steve Williams, the jilted bagman who a fortnight ago called Woods "that black arsehole", lends the match more edge. "If it happens, it happens," said Woods when asked if he would be comfortable with the encounter. "Whoever you're paired up against you've got to earn your point for your country."

If Woods and Scott are matched up, it will probably be in Sunday's singles. Before that there are six foursomes tomorrow, six fourballs on Friday and then four foursomes and four fourballs on Saturday. The consensus was that Couples would link up the Woods-Steve Stricker partnership which fared so well last year. But Couples is ready to pair Woods with Dustin Johnson, the big hitter who, ironically, lost his caddie, Joe LaCava, to Woods two months ago.

Woods expressed his desire to play with Stricker, but is determined to repay Couples' faith in selecting him as a wild card. In the 11 Cup matches he has played for the US, Woods has always been the highest-ranked American. Now he finds himself the bottom-ranked at No 50, with many questioning Couples' decision. "I'm grateful to Fred," said Woods. "He's believed in my ability to earn points and that's all I'm trying to do."



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