Ryder Cup

Molinari, DeChambeau wouldn't mind a Tiger pairing

2018-09-25 23:04
Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau (AP)

Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - Open champion Francesco Molinari wouldn't mind being matched up against Tiger Woods this week at the Ryder Cup while US rookie Bryson DeChambeau wouldn't mind being paired alongside him at Le Golf National.

Woods attracted large crowds for Tuesday's first practice round and rapt attention from other players in the biennial team showdown featuring holders US and Europe.

For Molinari, playing 14-time major winner Woods would rematch their last-day pairing in July at Carnoustie, where the American led briefly on the back nine only to lose to the Italian star.

It would also be a rematch of their 2012 Ryder Cup pairing, when Europe completed the Miracle at Medinah comeback win while Woods and Molinari were still on the course.

It's a heck of a thing for Molinari, who has never won a Cup match, to try and break that drought against Woods, who ended a five-year win drought on Sunday at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

"Yeah, I like playing with him," Molinari admitted. "It's hard to say that you like playing with Tiger in the last match in a Ryder Cup like it was at Medinah because it's pretty intense. There's a lot of pressure.

"I don't know if I'll draw him again this week. I'll do my best like I always do, and he's obviously in great form. It was nice to see him winning last week."

Woods underwent spinal fusion surgery last year and has made an amazing comeback, finishing second in last month's PGA Championship before his breakthrough win.

"I think he really deserved it after the season he's had," Molinari said. "But this week, it's a different story, and in 18 holes, anything can happen. So if I do face him, I'll do my best to get something out of it."

DeChambeau, meanwhile, has been a pal of Woods for a while and they have practiced together ahead of this week, serving notice they could be a formidable combination in foursomes and four-ball.

"I don't think it's about any type of competition internally with the team," DeChambeau said. "It's more about what we're going to do to put the four best teams out any day we go out.

"It would be awesome to play with him. Is it going to happen? We're still working on it."

Woods had fans racing alongside on the final hole Sunday at East Lake and showed he remains the game's biggest star.

"The way the people responded to him and the excitement level, the energy that he brings, this is the best I've ever seen him swing the club, even going back to 2000, when I thought he was at his best.

"He's striking it so solidly that nobody that has played with him was surprised he won and now that first win is out of the way, I think he's going to start rattling off some more."

English Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter says there is a need for a statement when playing against Woods, but he was happy to see him win.

"It's amazing for golf," Poulter said. "It's good for him personally to get back over the line from 2013. It has been a long time. There were definitely question marks.

"It has been quite inspirational to see how he's come back as good as he has come back. It's great to have Tiger Woods playing the type of golf he's playing because he certainly makes the Ryder Cup even more special."

English Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood tweeted that Woods' win was the greatest comeback in sport. But he doesn't see it influencing the Cup.

"It makes no difference to us at all. Tiger's been playing great for a while, and it wasn't a shock to anybody that he won, so it's not like he came out of the blue and all of a sudden, Tiger's won and we're worrying about that."


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