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Cup captain Couples says Johnson 'fine' despite flu scare

Zach Johnson of U.S. points towards where he is intending to hit his ball from the bunker where fans are standing on the 18th green, during
Zach Johnson of U.S. points towards where he is intending to hit his ball from the bunker where fans are standing on the 18th green, during

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Zach Johnson joined up with his United States team mates ahead of this week's Presidents Cup despite suffering from the flu for the past three days, United States captain Fred Couples said on Tuesday.

The 2007 Masters champion arrived in Columbus a day after his team mates, missing the official team photo taken earlier on Tuesday not expected practice with the team.

"Zach got in (this morning), he had what he considers the two- or three day flu, which was bad enough that he couldn't fly and even be here," said Couples.

"He'll be .... I'm going to say fine. I haven't seen him but we've talked to him a few times, so he's doing okay.

"He said he wants to come out, chip and putt. We haven't really addressed that yet, but he'll play tomorrow and he's ready to go."

The United States have won the last four editions of the tournament against the Internationals and start as favorites again at Jack Nicklaus's Muirfield Village course.

Couples suggested Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley are also expected to team-up again after forming a duo at last year's Ryder Cup.

"Keegan and Phil are already a great team together, that worked out last year at the Ryder Cup. No one would have thought that. But they make a good team and that's kind of how it works, just like Stricker and Tiger did a few years ago," he said.

Stricker, 46, could partner with Woods again at some stage in the tournament although Couples also suggested the former may be paired with rookie Jordan Spieth.

PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner is another potential playing partner for Woods, who was named this week as the PGA Tour's Player of the Year.

"Everyone wants to play with Tiger," said Couples. "You can only get one partner. I think this is a course that everyone's played. So if you look at how the course is set up, the par-fives are on odd holes, the par-threes are on even holes, and when you look at that, I pretty much have let the guys decide.

"We do have one very young player, Jordan Spieth, who is playing phenomenal golf, and he's out there playing with a veteran who he's probably going to go with.

"With Tiger, it's two or three guys, the usual, Steve Stricker will probably play with him a little bit and Matt Kuchar is out playing with him and Dufner. So I let them tell me."

(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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