Tiger-Scott showdown almost inevitable

Greg Norman says he expects a match-up between Tiger Woods and Adam Scott at the Presidents Cup, in what could be a spicy showdown after a racial slur directed at the American former world No. 1.

Norman, captaining the International team for a second time in the biennial clash against the United States, said it was almost inevitable that Woods and Australia’s Scott would meet later this week at Royal Melbourne.

Scott’s caddy Steve Williams, who carried Woods’s bags for 13 of his 14 Major titles before being sacked earlier this year, this month referred to Woods as a “black arsehole” during an awards dinner in Shanghai.

Williams subsequently apologised to Woods for the comment and they shook hands.

“If it happens, it happens. It is not going to be premeditated. [But] I’d expect them to meet some time from Thursday onwards,” Norman said at the Australian Open on Sunday.

“I talked to Adam about it. I asked him if it worked out that way, did he have a problem with it? He said, ‘Not at all. I’ll play him and win a point for you’ … It can fall out that way. He might end up playing with him every day. Who knows?”

Stepping up
Woods and Williams came face to face at The Lakes course in Sydney last week ahead of the Australian Open, won by Australian Greg Chalmers, with Woods third.

“I don’t think it will affect either Tiger or Adam. If that happens, both of them will step up and try to win the point,” Norman said.

Woods came up short again in his quest to end a two-year tournament drought behind two-time Australian Open winner Chalmers on Sunday.

The former world No. 1, whose barren run has left him outside the top 50 for the first time in 15 years, put himself into a winning position for the first time since the Augusta Masters last April.

But he could not overhaul Chalmers, who beat compatriot John Senden by one shot with Woods a further stroke away.

Norman said Scott had matured into a leadership role in the International team.

“He wants to win it. He has been on a couple of losing teams and he doesn’t like it,” he said.

“He knows he is one of the top guys in the world. He has taken that responsibility on. He has been instrumental in why since April the guys have been very enthusiastic.”

A little different
Norman said he will be more assertive as a non-playing captain after defeat to the United States in San Francisco two years ago.

“My captaincy will be a little different this time. It will definitely be different this coming week,” Norman said.

“I am going to be more a captain instead of seeking advice and other people’s opinions and trying to make everybody happy … At the end of the day, you’ve got to make the decisions. By making those firm decisions, the guys will realise that this is the captain speaking, this is what he wants us to do.”

The US team retained the Cup after winning it for a sixth time in San Francisco.

The Internationals, featuring the world’s best non-European players, recorded their only victory when the teams event was last held in Australia at this week’s Royal Melbourne venue in 1998. — AFP

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