Love backs Woods and Stricker

  • Last Updated: September 28 2012, 7:15 BST

The last time Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker played together they did not win a hole and did not make a single birdie.

Woods and Stricker: Paired for morning foursomes

That was last November when they were crushed 7&6 at the Presidents Cup by Adam Scott and KJ Choi. It tied the biggest defeat in the event's history.

The time before that they were hammered 6&5 by Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, who were a brilliant five under par in foursomes at Celtic Manor. It was the biggest loss of Woods's Ryder Cup career.

Yet American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love has brought them back together in Chicago and they go out in the last of the morning foursomes against Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

Woods and Stricker did, however, win their first six games together, including their opening two in Wales, and Love said: "They play very well together.

"I didn't go back and study Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker's record before I put them together.

"They wanted to play together and they have done pretty well together, so I'm going to let them go."

Woods, who has been on only one winning side in six appearances, said: "Strick and I are very comfortable together.

"We've had some pretty good success over the years and we both have been playing well. Our captain said that would be a good fit, and he wanted us out there to anchor.

"It's just a matter of what our captain thinks is best for the team. We've got to go out there and earn our point.

"We know what to expect from each other. There are no hidden surprises out there for us - we've been through a lot of matches together."

He has two wins out of two against Poulter in the match, but the Englishman has won eight of his other nine games.

What Love found hardest was telling his two major champions this season - Masters winner Bubba Watson and US Open winner Webb Simpson - and also Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson that they were not playing the first session.

"I had to talk to four of my guys and somehow come up with a rational explanation of why they weren't going to play," he said.

"But these guys we thought made really, really good alternate-shot teams and that's what we decided to go with.

"I've got four of the best players in the world that love this golf course sitting on the bench and I'm going to have to get them in the game."

That will probably be in the afternoon fourballs and Europeans Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer and debutant Nicolas Colsaerts will be hoping the same applies to them.

For the first time since 1995 the opening game does not feature either Phil Mickelson or Woods. Jim Furyk and £7million FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker start things off for the home team against world number one Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.

"Order-wise there was not a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it, except that maybe pace of play Brandt likes to get out there and get after it," Love added.

Mickelson, winning an American record ninth cap, follows alongside newcomer Keegan Bradley.

"Obviously Phil and Keegan are a little bit excited to be playing too, so get them going," Love said, "and then we've got some pretty cool customers at the end."

Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner are the third pair against Westwood and Francesco Molinari, while Mickelson and Bradley play unbeaten foursomes pair Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.


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