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Michael Taylor 6th Oct 2009 - 16:30

Stricker and Woods – a duo good enough for the Presidents

FedEx Cup top two Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker seem to have been a constant fixture as a final round two ball this year and the comfort they've gained from this could lead to a USA romp in this week's Presidents Cup.

The two best players in golf of the past few months have traded blows almost on a weekly basis and while most people often end up capitulating in Woods' wake, Stricker has hung tough and even come out on top on occasion.

So, as the USA look to land a third consecutive Cup, Fred Couples' job looks to have been made a lot easier - at least in terms of naming one of his pairings.

Stricker, an 8/1 shot to be the USA's top points scorer, may have gone six years without a tournament to his name between 2001-2007 but those days are long gone now and he has a great chance of making a real impact at the Harding Park Golf Club in San Francisco.

Looking at the outright betting it seems you may be buying money if you take the 4/11 about a US win.

The advantage they have on paper over the International team is astronomical, but then I suppose it would be when all but one member of the team is within the top 25 of the official golf world rankings (five are in the top 10).

Woods, Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk are the mega stars but in Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard and Stewart Cink they have a core of players that performed so brilliantly in last year's Ryder Cup.

The Internationals do have a few answers, most notably in the experienced quadruple of Geoff Ogilvy, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen but they definitely lack a little depth further down the pecking order.

YE Yang was superb when he failed to bow down to the pressure en route to becoming the first Asian man to land a major at this year's PGA Championship and captain Greg Norman will be hoping his team display exactly that sort of determination.

Yang, 14/1 to be the International team's top points scorer, could be a great value bet, especially if he's teamed up with the right partner - someone like Far East compatriot Ryo Ishikawa could prove interesting and would ensure a huge media presence.

You have to say that realistically it looks impossible to back the Internationals at a meagre 2/1.

Their talent pool is smaller, they generally haven't fared well in this competition format and they are facing what I see as the most talented squad ever assembled in the Presidents Cup.

The first few days of foursomes and fourballs are pivotal for Greg Norman. If he can find the right combination of partnerships then they may still be in with a chance going into the final day singles - the problem is, I just can't see that happening.



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