Fernandez-Castano in confident mood ahead of Woods showdown

World No.48 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano is in confident mood ahead of his opening round clash with Tiger Woods this week.

Story highlights

  • Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano believes he can beat Tiger Woods in World Match Play
  • The Spanish world No.48 takes on Woods in the first round of the Arizona tournament
  • Sixty-four of the world's top 68 players are in action in the WGC event at Dove Mountain
  • Holder Luke Donald could lose his No.1 ranking if Lee Westwood or Rory McIlroy wins

Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano believes he can send former world number one Tiger Woods packing in this week's WGC Match Play tournament, as a high-class field arrives in Arizona vying for a winner's purse of a cool $1.4m.

A high-class field sees 64 of the world's top 68 players battling it out at the Ritz-Carlton Club, Dove Mountain, with Woods the most successful player in the event's history having won the title three times since its inception in 1999.

However, despite the American's ominous tournament record, world No.48 Fernandez-Castano is relishing the prospect of taking on the former world number one on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old told the official PGA Tour website: "It's a great opportunity for me because I think he's beatable.

"I need to play good. That's all I can think about and that's all I'm going to try on Wednesday, just try playing my best game and hope that he doesn't play his best."

Despite Woods' slide down the rankings in recent years, he is still ranked 20th in the world, meaning Fernandez-Castano would have to cause a major upset to progress to a last 32 clash against either Nick Watney or British Open champion Darren Clarke.

"I'm the underdog and I have nothing to lose, at the same time I don't think he is at his best at the moment," added Fernandez- Castano.

    "I've never played with Tiger before and, 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 golf's history."

    Holder Luke Donald opens his defense against veteran South African Ernie Els, with Peter Hanson of Sweden or American Jason Dufner awaiting the winners.

    However, the Englishman has an outside chance of losing his world number one ranking to either compatriot Lee Westwood or Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy -- should one of those two players win the tournament.

    Westwood will open his tournament against Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, with the winner facing either Robert Karlsson or Fredrik Jacobson, both of Sweden.

    McIlroy's opening match is against South African George Coetzee, with Anders Hansen of Denmark or Korean Kyung-tae Kim awaiting the victor of that duel.