Presidents Cup: five SA golfers in the team

2013-09-13 00:00

THE Jack Nicklaus-designed course Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, will host the 10th Presidents Cup this year. It is due to start a little earlier than usual, in the first week of October.

This tournament is played under the same format as the Ryder Cup, but to South African golf fans, it doesn’t always generate the same interest. This year, however, it may be different because there are five South African players in the team of 12.

The Presidents Cup is played biennially between the United States and the rest of the world outside of Europe.

The official golf rankings and money lists decide the top 10, with two others selected by the captains. Fred Couples, the captain of the U.S. team, selected Webb Simpson and the 20-year-old prodigy Jordan Speith.

Speith’s lack of experience makes him a risk, but the rest of the U.S. team is a powerful one. Couples left out experienced players like Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.

Nick Price is captain of the Internationals and his picks were two surprises. One was fellow Zimbabwean Brendon de Jonge, who is known as the “Birdie Machine”, but is winless on the tour, and the promising Australian Marc Leishman. This means that Tim Clark and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee didn’t get the nod.

So there are three Australians, world number two Adam Scott, Jason Day and Leishman. Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne are flying the flag for South Africa. The remaining four are De Jonge, Canadian Graham DeLaet, Angel Cabrera of Argentina and 21-year-old Japanese Hideki Matsuyama. This means that there are seven rookies. Oosthuizen is one of them as he hasn’t played in a Presidents Cup before. In 2011, Greg Norman selected Robert Allenby instead of Oosthuizen. It was a big mistake — Allenby was easily the weakest link.

The Internationals had their only Presidents Cup victory in 1998 in Melbourne, and there was a tie at Fancourt in 2003 when Tiger Woods and Ernie Els had that epic battle in the gloom of the late afternoon. The Internationals have lost eight times and one would think that this year the U.S. will again be too strong for the Internationals.

From the 19th hole:

An old guy was visiting his daughter and son-in-law one night when he asked if he could borrow a newspaper.

“This is the 21st century, old man,” the son-in-law said. “We don’t have newspapers any more, but here you can borrow my iPad.”

A few minutes later the father-in-law walked back into the room and said: “I can tell you, that fly never knew what hit it.”

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