Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño admitted he has “nothing to lose” when he comes up against three time champion Tiger Woods in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
The 31 year old Spaniard pulled one of the plum ties of the first round at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and will come face to face with the former World Number One for the first time on the first tee on Wednesday, having not partnered Woods in his career to date.
“I think it's great to be playing against Tiger,” said the five time European Tour champion whose last victory was in the Barclays Singapore Open last November.
“All the top players in the world, they're all good, and you can get beat by any of them. But playing against one of the best players in history is a good experience, and of course I think I have nothing to lose. So I just need to go out there and try my best.
“Being 48th in the World Rankings at the moment, you don't expect to be paired against Tiger Woods at this stage. But these things happen. Maybe it's a good chance to play good and maybe I can beat him? That would certainly be a great feeling.
“I’ve played in front of big galleries before, so I don't think that's going to be a problem but I'm sure they will all be rooting for him and that might be a different story as I've never been in that situation before.
“But you never know. I just want to go out there and enjoy it. I've never played with Tiger before, not even on a stroke play event. For me it's a big privilege. If I win, fantastic. If I lose, well, I've lost to one of the best players in history.
“But as I said I know I need to play my best golf and hopefully he doesn't play his best. That's the way it works. Match play is like that. Sometimes you shoot 67 and you lose. Other day you shoot 74 and you win.
“So hopefully it goes my way on Wednesday. I was quite happy to see the pairing when the draw came out. And I think I can learn a lot from this experience.”
The Fernandez-Castaño v Woods tie is one of four Europe v United States match-ups in Wednesday’s first round, the others seeing Italy’s Matteo Mannasero, the youngest player in the field, come up against Webb Simpson; Open Champion Darren Clarke face Nick Watney; and Sweden’s Peter Hanson play Jason Dufner.