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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Reluctant Woods sings to US team
World number one Tiger Woods
Woods' singing voice was not a patch on his golf skills
World number one Tiger Woods had to sing in front of his team-mates as part of a US bonding exercise, despite his best efforts to avoid the session.

All 12 players were asked to sing, but Woods slipped out before returning to give a rendition of his college song.

"He kind of bailed out when it got rowdy but when we all got back we put him on the spot and made him sing to us," said US star Scott Verplank.

"We got him a little embarrassed - which was good - and had a good laugh."

US captain Tom Lehman came up with the exercise as part of his attempts to help the players unite behind the common goal of reclaiming the Ryder Cup.

"He wasn't good and he didn't like doing it - I wouldn't recommend he go to a recording studio or anything," added Verplank.

Tiger Woods is buying into having 11 buddies with him for a week

US golfer Scott Verplank

Recent US teams have attracted criticism for a perceived lack of spirit, with Woods' unhappy pairing with world number two Phil Mickelson cited as an example of the problem.

But Verplank insisted Woods - who is likely to be paired with friend Jim Furyk at the K Club - was a key member of the team, and had suspended his usual single-minded approach for the duration of the Ryder Cup.

"He is less reserved and is asserting himself a little bit more socially than he has done in the past," he said.

"He's buying into having 11 buddies with him for a week instead of just this 'me against the world' thing.

"He's a very good guy and I think he does a tremendous job in the position he's in of maintaining his priorities and keeping all of his stuff in line.

"I can see how it is hard for him to let down some of his guards and fall under somebody else's schedule or plan.

"But I think he understands that to play well in this event that's what he's got to do and I think he's making some steps to do that."

Captain Tom Lehman said he was keen to give Woods a few hours downtime during the afternoons on practice days.

I think our thought processes are a lot alike

US star Jim Furyk on Woods

"It's always been something that he's wanted to do in the Ryder Cup, have some time where he can relax and have time to himself," he said.

US wildcard pick Stewart Cink said the team was fully behind Lehamn's style of captaincy.

"Tom's leading, which I really enjoy," said Cink.

"He's telling us where to go, who to play with, what time to be there - he's not giving us any wiggle room.

"He has a real good idea of what he thinks the team needs to do to win the Ryder Cup."

Woods and Furyk were unbeaten when playing together at the Presidents Cup, and the world number three said their friendship was the key to their success as a pairing.

"I would say we are good friends," said Furyk.

"I think we get along well. I enjoy his company, his sense of humour.

"But our mentalities are a lot the same. We attack a lot of holes in similar ways, we read putts very similarly - I think our thought processes are a lot alike."

Iain Carter, BBC Sport golf correspondent

Furyk also stressed the importance of a good start if the US were to win the Ryder Cup.

"When you look back at the history of the event, in the last four Ryder Cups, the ones I've played in, we've tended to get behind quick," he said.

"The only one where we hung on and it was tight the whole way was The Belfry in 2002 where we had a lead going into the singles and we lost.

"The other three Ryder Cups, we got behind and got behind a lot very quickly. So with all of us going out there and not playing well the first day, it's had a tangible effect."





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