Greg Norman hopes pairing helps Tiger Woods, ex-caddie move on
Nonetheless, the captain of the International team and his U.S. counterpart, Fred Couples, decided to put the two on the course together for the feature match in the opening session Thursday at Royal Melbourne.
It may sound like a counterproductive move, but it made more sense after Norman's comments at Wednesday's opening ceremony.
“If we had to defuse anything and just get this thing over and done with, wouldn't you rather have it sooner than later?” Norman said. “Because I personally wouldn't have wanted to be sitting down at the singles and everybody is playing a really tight match and it comes down to the last group or the second to last group, and all of this pressure is coming on because it's the first time the two met.”
The Presidents Cup captains take turns filling out the lineup for each match. When it came down to Thursday's feature match, the only pairs left were Woods and Steve Stricker for the U.S. and K.J. Choi and Adam Scott for the International team.
And Scott happens to be Williams' current employer. Which means Woods will be facing the caddie he fired this summer just two weeks after Williams' seemingly racist comments about Woods at a caddies award dinner.
Williams has since apologized for the matter, and Woods has said that the caddie is not a racist. Norman said he hopes Thursday's pairing helps put the issue to rest rather than stir up more controversy.
“I'm sure Freddie and I — everybody — we want to put this behind us,” Norman said. “It's a dead issue as far as we're concerned. There's no animosity between any of the players. I know it's good fodder. People like to talk about it in the media. But from our perspective, it's dead and gone. And we would like to keep it that way going forward.”
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Tiger Woods is introduced during the opening ceremony prior to the start of 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Credit: David Cannon / Getty Images