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US Captain Woods to play three times at Presidents Cup

US team captain Tiger Woods hits to the green Wednesday during a practice round ahead of the Presidents Cup © AFP / William WEST

MELBOURNE, Australia, Dec 11Tiger Woods will combine his captain’s duties with playing most likely three times during the Presidents Cup, his deputy Fred Couples revealed Wednesday.

There has been fervent speculation leading up to the biennial match play showdown between the United States and an International team led by Ernie Els about how much the US superstar might contribute with the clubs after awarding himself a captain’s pick.

Couples, who captained the team in 2009, 2011 and 2013, has long championed Woods as capable of assuming the dual roles and said he anticipates he will play a big part on the course at Royal Melbourne.

“I think he’ll play three times,” he said. “He still wants to captain this team (but) I know he’ll play three days.

“I picked him when he was like 400th in the world to come down here and play,” added Couples. “I picked him three months early and took a bunch of grief for it. He should be on every team. That’s how good he is.”

Woods is the first playing captain since Hale Irwin in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, placing greater responsibility on Couples and his fellow vice-captains Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson.

“He is a heck of a captain, which you would think, and he’s a great player to be on your team. So we have both,” said Couples.

“When he’s playing, you know, there’s not like Zach is the captain. We’re all captain, and it depends on where we are on the course.”

The Presidents Cup begins Thursday with the first five fourball matches. The draw for the first day’s pairings takes place later Wednesday.

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