Cink heaps praise on Woods

Stewart Cink has given his fellow former Open champion Tiger Woods a ringing endorsement heading into the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Stewart Cink has given his fellow former Open champion Tiger Woods a ringing endorsement heading into the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

World number one Woods has experienced a torrid time on and off the course this year, and had to rely on a captain's pick from Corey Pavin to make the United States team and compete in his sixth Ryder Cup.

But Cink, a member of the victorious US contingent at Valhalla two years ago, believes Pavin made the right decision.

"People love watching Tiger play golf no matter what, and I count myself among those," said Cink.

"I love watching him play. He does things with the ball that I've never seen anybody do. I love and respect that, and I think people will be cheering for him either way.

"I think it's sort of like playing over in the States, where our college football is a big deal.

"The number one team always gets the very best out of the opponents, and those opponents rise to the occasion and play their hearts out against the number one team.

"I think that can also sort of be applied to Tiger Woods because the opponents know that they have to be at their best to beat the great Tiger Woods. In Ryder Cup play, we have seen it countless times how wonderful the level of play is.

"Guys just find an extra gear. Tiger, he's been beaten by that sometimes. But you know, he's a human being, too.

"The guy has been through a whole lot recently, and he still had a relatively good record compared to most players that were in consideration for picks.

"And he had some top-five finishes in majors and he played consistently down the stretch, even though he was not spectacular. He's still ranked number one in the world - yeah, I would have picked him."

Cink and company will be back in practice action around the Celtic Manor today, when a clearer indication can be expected of Pavin's pairings for the opening fourballs against Europe on Friday morning.

"You have to roll putts in and you have to hit it well to win," he added.

"You do have to execute well, but the key to the pairings is you want to put players with other guys who they are comfortable with and will free them up and increase their chances of doing that and hitting good shots.

"You don't want to put guys together that don't know each other, or, goodness, don't like each other - that happens.

"You have to do what you can to free everyone up to be at their best for the longest, and that's where the pairings come in."

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