It was that kind of day for Tiger Woods, and his Presidents Cup partner Steve Stricker. They didn’t make a single birdie in the Melbourne, Australia, competition — against K.J. Choi and Adam Scott, who now employs Woods’ ex-caddie, Steve Williams. Woods and Stricker didn’t win a hole as the International side won the first day of competition 7 and 6. The margin of defeat was the worst for Woods in any type of match play since he turned pro.
Afterward, the handshake between Woods and Williams mirrored the one that preceded the beginning of the match: brief and professional. There was no Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz moment. Woods initiated the first handshake at the first tee. (He probably missed the Sydney Herald headline: “Woods caddie-whacked as Williams gets last laugh.”
“Yeah, I put my hand out there to shake it, and life goes forward,” Woods said (via Reuters). “There's some great things that Steve and I did, and that's how I look at it. I know he probably looks at it differently than I do but life goes forward and I'm very happy with what we have done in our career together.”
Williams got a dig in, asking a referee at one point: “There seems to be a lot of tension out here. Can you tell me why?”
The competition continues, but Woods is thinking about 2012. On Wednesday, he announced that he was breaking with tradition. Instead of opening the season as he usually does with the PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines in San Diego, he’ll play in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Jan. 26-29.
Woods has won seven times as a pro at Torrey Pines — the site of his last major victory in the 2008 U.S. Open — and has started every season there since 2006. (He missed the 2009 and 2010 tournaments because of injury.)
The Abu Dhabi event offers something better than the Farmers Insurance Agent Open’s comfortable, familiar course, though — European Tour appearance money.