Els not worried about Presidents Cup players' form in Sydney

Ernie Els (Getty Images)
Ernie Els (Getty Images)

Sydney - Ernie Els on Friday said he was not worried about how players in his Presidents Cup team perform at the Australian Open this week, admitting their minds were already on the biennial showdown against the United States.

The International team captain teed off himself at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney, but missed the cut after firing 77 on Friday, following his first-round 72.

That suits the big South African just fine, allowing him to leave early to have a look at the Royal Melbourne course ahead of the Presidents Cup against the Tiger Woods-led Americans from next Thursday.

Several players in his team are in Sydney, including Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman, and have enjoyed mixed fortunes.

But Els said their performances would not affect his decisions around pairings for the fourballs and foresomes.

"No, my long-term view is long-term form. I've picked guys who have played well for a long term," he said.

"One week or one round is not going to change anything in my view.

"The guys are quality players, they've made great strides in making the team and I believe in them. If they have a bad round or a bad tournament, it's not changing my view on that."

The United States go into the tournament as heavy favourites, boasting some of the world's top-ranked players such as Woods, who is playing-captain, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.

They have won all but one edition in the event's 25-year history, with Melbourne in 1998 the exception.

Els said he had been working on his pairings since arriving in Sydney.

"Actually even last night, I got some pairings going for the guys and so things are really getting set up now. I'm really focused on next week now, absolutely," he said, adding that he wasn't worried about how often Woods might play in Melbourne.

"I can't worry about what they're doing, I'm worried about what we're doing.

"If he plays a lot, he plays a lot. It doesn't really change anything. It's a point per match and that's what we're focused on, trying to get as many points as we can."

In addition to Scott, Oosthuizen and Leishman, Li Haotong of China, Taiwan's CT Pan, Mexico's Abraham Ancer, Australian newcomer Cameron Smith and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama all qualified automatically for Els' team.

Adam Hadwin and Jason Day were his captain's picks alongside rookies Im Sung-jae and Joaquin Niemann, although Day has since pulled out injured and been replaced by South Korean An Byeong-hun.

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