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Sunday October 6, 2013 MYT 9:47:02 AM
Sunday October 6, 2013 MYT 9:47:09 AM
by simon evans
Tiger Woods of the U.S. tees off on the 15th hole while playing his four ball match with partner Matt Kuchar against International team players Adam Scott of Australia and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan at the 2013 Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio October 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes
DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - World number one Tiger Woods cannot be the easiest golfer to find a partner for but he has certainly struck up an impressive rapport with Matt Kuchar at the Presidents Cup.
The pair have won all three of their matches so far, making them the only unbeaten pairing this week, though they have some work to do if they are to notch a fourth victory at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
The duo will resume at two-down with nine holes to play on Sunday in their foursomes encounter with South African Ernie Els and Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge, which was cut short by darkness at the end of another rain-affected day at Muirfield Village.
Earlier in the day, in their fourball match, the Americans beat the Internationals pairing of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama one-up, with Woods leading the way.
Down two holes, Woods responded by making three straight birdies, winning two holes to level the contest and after a Kuchar birdie clinched the 14th hole, a superb eagle from Woods at the next earned the Americans a two-hole lead.
After Japanese Matsuyama reduced the lead to one-hole, the Americans needed to seal the win on the 18th and did so when Kuchar cooly sank a 16-foot birdie putt.
"Kuch man, what a birdie on 18," said Woods after embracing his team mate on the green.
Pleased as he was with that finish, Kuchar acknowledged that Woods had made the bigger contribution throughout the match.
"This guy is a horse, Holy Cow," said Kuchar. "He played some incredible golf today. I was along for the ride for most of it. I let him down a couple times, missed a few putts, but boy, that sure was a fun way to end it."
It is clear that the pair are enjoying each other's company and also that Kuchar has taken on the role of the steady and consistent partner for Woods which Steve Stricker has previously filled.
"I think he's had a great partner in Stricker," Kuchar said earlier this week. "Those two are a fantastic fit together. I wasn't sure I was going to change that setup. I thought that's been a good fit."
There is an evident good chemistry between the pair who have enjoyed some light-hearted moments as well as the more Tigerish fist-pumping episodes of aggression.
"I think I may relax him a little bit out there," said Kuchar.
The key to making Woods feel comfortable in his partner appears to be an unusual sense of humour which Woods described as funny - in both senses of the word - with regard to both Kuchar and Jason Dufner.
"Kuch and Duf are pretty funny guys and you expect the unexpected with those two," said Woods.
Whatever the jokes may be like, they are bringing exceptional results for Woods.
The only other time that a Woods pairing has won the first three matches together at the Presidents Cup was four years ago at Harding Park where he and Stricker won all four.
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