Heavyweight Internationals under pressure in Montreal

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MONTREAL, Sep 26 (Reuters) The Internationals need to live up to their heavyweight billing by winning this week's Presidents Cup, according to Australian Stuart Appleby.

Although the US have dominated the biennial team competition with four victories in the first six editions, the Internationals have more strength in depth this year.

''We've come a long way as an International team but we need to start winning,'' Appleby told a news conference at Royal Montreal Golf Club yesterday. ''It's been a long time (since we won in 1998) and our team has got better.

''I don't think the American team has got much better but we've come on leaps and bounds,'' added Appleby, who is appearing in his fifth Presidents Cup.

''Even when we won in '98 we didn't have a great team. We had a good team. But when you look at the 2007 team, you think: 'Wow, this is way better than what we would ever have dreamed of'.'' Although the Americans boast the game's leading four players in Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, the Internationals have a deeper 12-man lineup.

Captain Gary Player can call upon nine of the world's top 19, and six former major winners in Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Mike Weir, Geoff Ogilvy and US Open champion Angel Cabrera.

''This team probably looks stronger than all of the teams,'' said Ogilvy, also referring to Europe who have dominated the Ryder Cup for the last decade.

''Our team on paper is pretty impressive if you look at the world rankings and how everyone has played in the last couple of years, winning majors and big tournaments. Europeans have proved it's not how good their players are as individuals; it's what they do when they come together.'' Canadian left-hander Mike Weir is hungry to taste Presidents Cup success, especially on home soil.

''This is my fourth time and I haven't been on a winning team yet,'' said the 2003 U.S. Masters champion.

''We tied once and lost twice. Gary wants to make sure we do the right thing. We're trying to win this.'' The seventh Presidents Cup starts tomorrow with the opening six foursomes matches.

REUTERS BJR SSC1029

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