Patrick Reed said his motivation for the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne is "to become personal, quot; in the midst of a violent reaction and claims to cheat after his penalty controversy".
But Els boasts intimate knowledge of the hard sandbelt layout where he holds the course record, and spent hours schooling his team on its fast greens and treacherous bunkers.
If Tiger Woods makes a success of being the first playing-captain in 25 years then it could convince the U.S. that the 15-time major-winner is capable of fulfilling the dual role in the Ryder Cup, as well.
Little else did for the American, but that was more a product of great play by the International Team that Ernie Els assembled to try to win the Presidents Cup for the first time since 1998, its only victory.
"It's really nice to have some points on the board".
Woods, the first playing captain at the Presidents Cup since the inaugural competition in 1994, put himself out in the first group with Thomas and immediately hit a tight approach on the short par-4 first, followed by another birdie at the par-5 second.
But that was as good as it got on a blustery day that began in overcast conditions and light drizzle before the sun burst through.
Woods had been 0-4 in his previous four-ball matches in two Presidents Cups at Royal Melbourne and 7-9 overall.
"I mean, the guys played well today in their respective pairings, and tomorrow we've got whatever pairings we have". The US have been beaten just once in the history of this particular biennial dust-up - and that was in the last century. There's a long way to go.
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Second-half goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah did the damage for the European champions, who progress as Group E winners. Speaking at a news conference before the clash with Lille, Zouma said: "Rudiger is an important player for us".
"Every time your name is called, you have to go out and win your game and that is what we are going to try to do, go out and win the point".
"The guys will regroup and we'll come out tomorrow ready to go". I could not get enough of them!
For the first time in 14 years, the worldwide team leads the Presidents Cup.
Woods is also backing Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay to bounce back from a one-down loss to Adam Hadwin and Sungjae Im, with victory over Hadwin and Niemann. Abraham Ancer of Mexico, one of seven rookies on his team, and Louis Oosthuizen opened with five straight birdies and built a 4-up lead through five holes against the American power duo of Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland.
Woods was in the first group out and was greeted by a small but noisy group of supporters, including one wearing a tiger suit.
A vintage chip-in for birdie on the fifth to huge roars put them three-up.
"You have to win 15½ points to win the tournament, and we've got four", said Geoff Ogilvy, an assistant captain who has a house at Royal Melbourne. It's no coincidence why we won. "He (Woods) really carried me out there".
Tiger Woods insisted the Presidents Cup is far from over after the United States were dominated by the Internationals at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.