Tiger Woods and Ernie Els the next Presidents Cup captains

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Tiger Woods on the course. (Keith Allison/Flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will take on new responsibilities in December next year, when they captain the USA and International sides in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

    The Americans have dominated the 12 previous Cups with ten wins, one loss, and a tie.

    The latter featured Woods and Els in 2003 in the only play-off, after both teams finished on 17 points apiece.

    When it became too dark to continue after three holes, captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player shook hands for the historic tie result.

    Woods, who is currently playing his best golf after three years of back problems, has dropped his world ranking from 1199 to 149.

    And he won’t give up hope of becoming only the second Presidents Cup captain to be playing. Hale Irwin has the honour from 1994 when the USA won 20 points to 12.

    The only time the International side has won at Royal Melbourne was in 1998, with a predominance of Australians in the line-up.

    Five times British Open champion Peter Thomson captained the side, with Wayne Grady his offsider, as Greg Norman led the charge with Steve Elkington, Stuart Appleby, and Craig Parry.

    Overall, Phil Mickelson is the undisputed Presidents Cup leader, as the only one to play in all 12 Cups, and the leading performer with 25 career wins – one more than Woods, who has played in eight Cups with Jim Furyk.

    Davis Love III has played in six, with Steve Stricker and Justin Leonard in five.

    Els, Adam Scott, and Vijay Singh head the Internationals, with eight appearances, from Robert Allenby and Retief Goosen with six, while Appleby, Nick Price, and Mike Weir each have five.

    But the Internationals will have to dramatically raise their performance if they are going to compete. Americans dominate the current world rankings, with Dustin Johnson (1), Justin Thomas (2), Jordan Spieth (4), Rickie Fowler (7), and Brooks Koepka (8), in the world’s top ten.

    The Internationals have only two – Hideki Matsuyama (6), and Jason Day (9).

    To compound the problem, seasoned campaigners like Adam Scott and South African Charle Schwartzel are starting to sink without trace, to 56 and 52 respectively.

    The selection format will be changed for Royal Melbourne, with the top eight in Presidents Cup points automatic qualifiers, leaving Woods and Els with four captain’s picks apiece.

    Woods will have the greater difficulty sorting out the likes of Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Charley Hoffman, Gary Woodland, Daniel Berger, and Tony Finau for his four selections. No doubt there will be a few more newcomers in their low 20s surfacing over the next 20 months.

    But Els will have to rely on Australian and South African golfers.

    Day and Marc Leishmann head the Australian contenders with Scott and Cameron Smith, while the likely South Africans loom as Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Dylan Frittelli, and Schwartzel.

    The saving grace for the Internationals will be the Americans find Royal Melbourne hard to handle, especially if it’s blowing a gale.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • March 15th 2018 @ 1:52pm
      Marcus said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

      Hope it is as good as 1998. I was lucky enough to be greenside at the 18th when Parry, teamed up with Shigeki Maruyama, chipped in to beat Woods/Couples 1 up. Was also there on the Sunday after the win when the Shark was parading around with his top off. Thought it was weird at the time, but turns out he was just warming up for his 60s and the advent of social media.

      Maruyama was the star of that event, so dont be surprised to see an underdog do something special.

      Wont be just the Aussies and South Africans. Based on world rankings as a proxy for points for all 12 slots, Japan would have 3 reps, Australia 3, South africa 3 and 1 to China, Thailand and Venzuela. Dont be surprised to see Si Woo Kim continue to improve as well.

      Big job to meld different cultures, but Ernie could be just the man to do it.

    • Columnist

      March 15th 2018 @ 2:44pm
      David Lord said | March 15th 2018 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

      Marcus, the Intenationals are like captaining the West Indies. Only Frank Worrell and Clive Lloyd were successful in moulding different countries, islands, and cultures into happy winning teams. Viv Richards’ reign was succesful just about every time he fired with the bat, but there were team factions on his watch.

      • March 15th 2018 @ 3:12pm
        Marcus said | March 15th 2018 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        Each job would have its challenges. Viv never had to try to convince his players to like Robert Allenby.

      • March 15th 2018 @ 4:54pm
        Johnno said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

        Surprised Viv caused factions(moulding the different carribean island’s nations players) as he was such an assertive personality and precense..

      • March 17th 2018 @ 3:17pm
        Johnno said | March 17th 2018 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

        Surprised Viv caused factions(moulding the different carribean island’s nations players) as he was such an assertive personality and precense i would have thought.

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