From Brian Keogh in Los Angeles
Colombian "Spiderman" Camilo Villegas can't wait for the chance to take down Open champion Padraig Harrington in next week's WGC-Accenuture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
Barring withdrawals from the 64-man field this week, the world number 57 will make his debut in the opening World Golf Championship of the season against last season's European Player of the Year.
And while he will be regarded as the underdog against the Irish Ryder Cup veteran, Villegas he has the matchplay know-how to cause a major surprise.
"I played a lot of matchplay in college and I won a lot of matchplay tournaments as an amateur in Colombia," Villegas said before a practice round for the Northern Trust Open at Riviera yesterday.
"It's a nice draw and he's a great player. But you just have to go out there and show up with your A-game and see what happens.
"It's my first year playing the matchplay and I'm really excited about playing that event. To play a player of Padraig's calibre in the first round is a great way to start."
Nicknamed "Spiderman" for his low-to-the-ground green-reading style, Villegas has been an instant hit with fans since he came on the scene in 2004
His prodigious length off the tee will give him an advantage on the wide fairways of the Gallery Golf Club and while he has yet to win in the US, his trajectory suggests that he wont' be long changing that statistic.
He had two second place finishes in his rookie season as well as a third place finish at The Players in his first nine events, qualified for the 2007 Masters off the money list and had three top-ten finishes in last season's FedEx Cup play-offs to zoom from 52nd to 24th in the standing.
He won the 2001 Colombian Open as an amateur and after losing a four-man play-off for last year's Honda Classic, he won his second professional at the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic on the Japan Golf Tour last September.
Asked if he fancied his chances of pulling off an upset in Tucson, he said: "In matchplay anything can happen."
Meanwhile Paul Casey has poached caddie Craig Connolly from Colin Mongtomerie, just over six months after they split up for the first time.
The pair parted company after Casey's 10th place finish in last season's US Open at Oakmont. But after missing the cut in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, Casey called Montgomerie requesting the services of his old caddie.