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Ogilvy faces Tiger in glamour match
By Andrew Both
14:12 AEST Thu Oct 8 2009
Australian Geoff Ogilvy (L)
Geoff Ogilvy (L) will team up with Ryo Ishikawa in the opening day foursomes at the Presidents Cup.

Geoff Ogilvy has been saying for the past month he wanted to team with Japanese teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa in the Presidents Cup clash with the United States.

International team captain Greg Norman obviously listened, because he paired Australian Ogilvy and Ishikawa, the youngest player in Cup history, for the opening day foursomes on Thursday.

And they could hardly face a bigger task.

Ogilvy and 18-year-old Ishikawa take on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the glamour match of the first day at San Francisco's Harding Park course.

"I went to Geoff earlier in the week and asked him, do you have any problems playing with Ryo," Norman said on Wednesday.

"He said `I was going to tell you somewhere during the week that I wanted to play with him'. So that was an easy one."

Ogilvy and Ishikawa will obviously have their work cut out to beat the world's No.1 and No.3 players, but Ogilvy could hardly ask for a better team-mate, because Ishikawa is the hottest player on the International team.

He has won four times since the start of June on the Japan Tour, including just last Sunday.

Interestingly, American captain Fred Couples made the decision to put Woods and Stricker against Ogilvy and Ishikawa, after Norman nominated his men for the fifth match.

But Ishakawa was undaunted and said he was honoured to play with world No.10 Ogilvy.

"Obviously Tiger and Steve Stricker, that team is great," Ishikawa said. "But golf is a game that you just never know what will happen. I might be somebody who is not bringing a lot of credentials behind me, but I'm going to do my best and play hard till the end."

In the second match, Australian Adam Scott will team with South African Ernie Els against Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair.

"Ernie and Adam are great friends and wanted to play with each other," Norman said.

"They have compatible games in a lot of ways, so that was a no-brainer.

Scott and Els have a good history in foursomes. They teamed up to win twice in 2003.

"I think Scotty wanted to play with me," Els said.

"He's had a very tough year, so mentally I wanted to help him.

"If he can get over the little stumbling block that he's had, it will be great for his career."

In the third match, Australian Robert Allenby and Fiji's Vijay Singh will take on US Open champion Lucas Glover and British Open champion Stewart Cink.

Allenby has a poor cup record of six wins, 11 losses and two halves, so he will be keen to atone for past disappointments.

His recent results have been disappointing, but he warned to take no notice of that.

"I'm pretty happy to be playing with Vijay," Allenby said.

"I'm going to keep him loose and I'm sure he's going to keep me loose too."

The International team has traditionally been weak in the opening day foursomes, which is a large part of the reason why it has only won the event once in seven tries.

Norman and assistant captain Frank Nobilo have put a lot of thought into the pairings, aware the team cannot afford another slow start.

Whether that makes any difference remains to be seen, but the players exuded a quiet sense of determination on tournament eve, sick of being the proverbial punching bags in the biennial event.

FIRST DAY FOURSOMES DRAW (International team named first, times Friday AEDT):

6.10am - Mike Weir/Tim Clark v Anthony Kim/Phil Mickelson

6.22am - Adam Scott/Ernie Els v Hunter Mahan/Sean O'Hair

6.34am - Vijay Singh/Robert Allenby v Lucas Glover/Stewart Cink

6.46am - Angel Cabrera/Camilo Villegas v Kenny Perry/Zach Johnson

6.58am - Geoff Ogilvy/Ryo Ishikawa v Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker

7.10am - Retief Goosen/Y.E. Yang v Jim Furyk/Justin Leonard