TIGER WOODS has been shunted down the order and there won’t be the anticipated opening grudge match with Rory McIlroy when the Ryder Cup tees off in Wales this afternoon EST.
Woods has said he was keen to play McIlroy after the young Northern Ireland cup rookie said he wanted to face the troubled superstar.
Instead, McIlroy and fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell were drawn to play Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.
Unlike previous Ryder Cup challenges when Woods has led the US charge, he has been placed in the third group, reunited with Steve Stricker in a match against English duo Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, who formed a successful partnership in the 2009 World Cup.
United States captain Corey Pavin said that Woods was happy to play in the penultimate game of the first session.
“He was fine,” Pavin said. “He’s been saying the same thing that he’s been saying since I asked him if he wanted to play on the team as a pick: ‘Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do.'”
Europe captain Colin Montgomerie, was pondering the move. No doubt aware as everyone is that Wood’s performance could have a big effect on the outcome.
“Tiger being hidden is a different move,” Montgomerie said.
Montgomerie turned to Lee Westwood, playing in his seventh Ryder Cup, to get the home side off to a winning start.
The Englishman will partner US PGA champion Martin Kaymer against world No.2 Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in match one.
Montgomerie is delighted the waiting is finally over and is predicting the matches will be very close..
“It’s been a long road and it’s great we’re here now,” he said.
The fourth match will see US cup rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton take on England’s Luke Donald and Irish wildcard Padraig Harrington.
The Cup will be broadcast Live on ONE HD.