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September 30, 2009

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Woods sparked by younger generation in Presidents Cup

TIGER Woods, fresh from his US$10-million pay day for winning the FedExCup, said he was energized by the mix of younger players in the US squad for next month's Presidents Cup.

Woods, who missed last year's Ryder Cup recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, said on Monday that the Americans were switching to a new generation for team golf.

"I certainly wish I could have been a part of that team last year," Woods, 33, said about the US ending a nine-year Ryder Cup drought against Europe with a team including six rookies.

"There was a different kind of chemistry last year. We had a mix of older players and some younger guys in their 20s," he told a news conference promoting his foundation's World Challenge tournament in December.

"Over the years, usually I've been the youngest one."

Woods said the new kind of US team would again be on display against the Internationals in the Presidents Cup matches in San Francisco starting on October 8.

"This Presidents Cup is different. Lucas (Glover, the US Open winner) and Sean (O'Hair) and AK (Anthony Kim) and Hunter (Mahan) - it's a mixed generation of players.

"It's going to be fun to be part of a team that's young like that, and also we've got Kenny (Perry) who is 49 now. I think we've got a great mix of players."

Woods, who has played in five Ryder Cup and five Presidents Cup teams, said the mix represented a changing of the guard.

"You can see the generation leaving us now, with Freddie (Couples, the US captain) and Davis (Love) not making the teams.

"They're at that age now they're not going to be part of the teams ... so this is another generation of players. So it's going to be fun to be a part of that."

Woods said he was also curious to see Couples as captain.

"I'm looking forward to see how Freddie speaks in front of all of us," Woods said. "As you know, Freddie starts in one direction and ends in another. It will be interesting to see what kind of tangents he goes on."

The Presidents Cup experience should also be enlivened by the presence of former basketball great Michael Jordan, who will be one of Couples's assistants.

"It will be fun," Woods said about having golf buddy Jordan around.

"I've been a part of several Ryder Cup teams where Michael has come and hung out with us a couple nights here and there but he's never been instrumental and part of the team.

"This will be different. A lot of the guys are looking forward to getting to know him. Geez, probably him and Muhammad Ali are the top two greatest athletes that's ever lived. It will be fun for the entire team to hang out with him."


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