Melbourne: Presidents Cup team captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples have ensured Thursday`s opening foursomes matches will have additional spice by pairing Tiger Woods against Australia`s Adam Scott and the American`s former caddy Steve Williams.
Williams, Woods`s former caddy who now carries Scott`s bag, sparked a global controversy in the leadup to the biennial tournament by making a racist remark about Woods at an annual caddy awards dinner in China earlier this month.
New Zealander Williams later apologised online and to Woods in person and the American said he wanted to move on.
Scott, who rejected calls to sack his caddy and denied he was a racist, had said he would be prepared to take on Woods regardless of any tension in the match-up.
Capping off days of speculation, US captain Couples called Hunter Mahan and David Toms for the second-last match against Kim Kyung-tae and YE Yang, leaving Scott and South Korean team mate KJ Choi to play against Woods and Stricker.
Greg Norman said he had not spoken with Couples and his assistants about it and denied the pairing was premeditated but said he had consulted Scott and Choi about it.
"I think it`s great for the tournament. It needed to be done. It played out the way it played out," he told reporters at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Wednesday.
"I just think that in the situation and the best spirit of the competition for the tournament there`s obviously a lot of speculation and intensity from the people in this room here that it could take place."
"We talked about it as the three of us and say, `okay, if we had to diffuse anything and just get this thing over and done with, wouldn`t you rather have it sooner than later?`
"Because I personally wouldn`t have wanted to be sitting down at the singles and everybody is playing a really tight match and it comes down to the last group or the second to last group, and all of this pressure is coming on because it`s the first time the two met."