GAINESVILLE, Va. -- Presidents Cup
captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player engaged in an animated
exchange over players signing autographs during practice rounds at the Presidents Cup on Tuesday.
Nicklaus, who is captaining the U.S. team for a third time,
confronted Player on the driving range and accused the
International team captain of breaking an agreement to not
allow players to sign autographs on the golf course.
World No. 2 Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and the
International team in general were seen signing autographs
throughout the day as they practiced at the Robert Trent Golf
Course. Later, some U.S. team members also signed for fans.
After talking with Player, Nicklaus told fans around the
driving range -- as he was signing autographs -- that some of
his players thought the Internationals where making them look
"like jerks," said Nicklaus.
In three previous Presidents Cups played at the Robert
Trent, the Internationals are without a win, including a 21½-10½ drubbing in 2000.
The European team drove the U.S. to distraction at last
year's Ryder Cup in Oakland Hills near Detroit, signing
autographs and mingling with American fans as part of a major
charm offensive designed to help diffuse some of the hostility
they might face during the event.
The plan worked as the Europeans received a mostly warm
welcome from the pro-American crowd as they rolled to
record-breaking 18½-9½ victory.