<
>

Tiger Woods skipping Saturday's early action as Justin Thomas pairs with Rickie Fowler

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Despite being his team's best player so far, Tiger Woods will take the morning off at the Presidents Cup on Saturday.

Woods, who is 2-0 with partner Justin Thomas and has helped account for 2 of the team's 3½ points, will rest while Thomas partners with Rickie Fowler in the four-ball session that has four matches.

The International team leads 6½-3½ after a split of the points Friday in foursomes.

"That was kind of the game plan,'' Woods said of not playing. "It would be hard for me to go all the sessions. I've been fortunate enough to go out there with JT and we've gotten two points. JT played great and Rickie played awesome [with Gary Woodland] this afternoon. They have been looking forward to playing with one another. They have had success before [at the Presidents Cup], and send them back out.''

After five sessions each on Thursday and Friday, the format switches to a double session on Saturday with four matches of the four-ball format followed by four of foursomes -- with pairings for the afternoon to be made at the conclusion of the morning session.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Woods sending Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson back out as a team. They are 0-2 together and were defeated 3 and 2 by Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer. Reed, who has heard his share of heckling over a rules infraction last week at the Hero World Challenge, is now 1-4 in his past five matches at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.

They have led after just one hole in two days and have trailed for 28 of 34 holes.

"Well, they have paired up well and they have played well; unfortunately they just haven't won points,'' Woods said. "But they have done all the little things right. It's just a matter of having things go your way, and that's part of playing these team sessions. A putt here, a shot here or there, you just get outplayed, it happens.

"But these guys have paired up really well. They are excited about being with one another and they have handled everything extremely well.''

Haotong Li will see his first action in the Presidents Cup when he pairs with Leishman against Thomas and Fowler in the first match at 3:02 p.m. ET (7:02 a.m. local time Saturday).

The other matches are Sung-jae Im and Ancer against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay (3:16 p.m. ET); Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan against Reed and Simpson (3:30 p.m. ET); and Adam Scott and Byeong-Hun An against Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau (3:44 p.m. ET).

Sitting out for the International side will be Adam Hadwin, Joaquin Niemann, Louis Oosthuizen and Cameron Smith.

Sitting out for the Americans will be Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Woodland and Woods.