It’s team SA versus Team US’ in the Presidents Cup

2013-09-01 14:00

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For the first time in the 19-year history of the Presidents Cup, South Africa will form the bulk of the International Team to play against Team US at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio, the US, from October 3-6.

The local players, in order of their rankings at the event, are Charl Schwartzel (2), Ernie Els (4), Louis Oosthuizen (5), Branden Grace (7), Richard Sterne (8) and Tim Clark (11). This means South Africa will have the biggest presence ever in what will be the 10th edition of this tournament.

The prestigious biennial event features an international line-up – excluding European players – of players appearing in the top world rankings against an all-American side in a match play format.

The American team will consist of the top 10 US players – in earnings – after the Deutsche Bank Championship that started on Friday. That tournament ends tomorrow.

Captains from each team, who won’t be playing, will choose two additional players to add the number of participants in each team to a dozen.

Zimbabwe golf veteran Nick Price will captain the International Team while Fred Couples will be in charge of Team US.

If Clark does well in the Deutshe Bank contest, he is likely to move to 10th spot tomorrow. This is currently occupied by Canadian Graham DeLaet.

Australian Adam Scott commands the rankings top spot among the internationals.

Since the tournament’s launch by former US president Gerald Ford in 1994, the average number of South African players competing has been three, with Els, Clark and Retief Goosen being the most regular participants.

But the impressive standard of South African players on the international stage has added impetus to the players’ world standings.

The Sunshine Tour lauded the high number of local participants in the Presidents Cup. The tour’s media officer, Mike Green, said: “The high number of South African players shows that the Sunshine Tour is the real breeding ground of world-class golfers.

“With such a big number, it will be a question of South Africa taking on the US Team in the tournament.”

The Presidents Cup has been played mostly in the US. The last time it was staged in South Africa was in 2003 at the picturesque Fancourt Links Golf Course in George, Western Cape.

The legendary Gary Player led the International Team on that occasion.

To date, Player has also led on to the course the class of 2005 and 2007. There is no prize money at the Presidents Cup and the tournament’s proceeds are distributed to charities.

Team US has been the dominant side in the cup, with the International Team winning only the third event, in 1998. The first Gary Player-led team played to the only tie, in 2003.

With a huge South African contingent, it remains to be seen whether the internationals can break the US stranglehold on the cup.

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