CAP­TAIN ELS V CAP­TAIN WOODS IN MEL­BOURNE

Golf Australia - - IN MY OPINION -

Ernie Els and Tiger Woods will cap­tain the In­ter­na­tional and US Teams re­spec­tively for the 2019 Pres­i­dents Cup at Royal Mel­bourne Golf Club.

The 13th edi­tion of the Cup will be held from De­cem­ber 9 to 15 and will mark the third time in the bi­en­nial event’s 25-year his­tory that The Pres­i­dents Cup has been held at the world renowned Sand­belt course, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been played there in 1998 and 2011.

While Woods and Els are mak­ing their Pres­i­dents Cup cap­tain de­buts, they will be the most ex­pe­ri­enced Pres­i­dents Cup cap­tains ever.

Both have fea­tured eight times as play­ers and were the pri­mary fig­ures in the 2003 event held in South Africa, where Woods and Els com­peted in a sud­den-death play­off that ul­ti­mately ended in a tie and the two teams shared the Cup. Both Woods and Els served as cap­tain’s as­sis­tants for their re­spec­tive teams last year.

Woods, who is the only player in Pres­i­dents Cup his­tory to have holed the win­ning putt on three oc­ca­sions, said he was hon­oured to fol­low in the foot­steps of the greats of the game as US cap­tain.

“Af­ter work­ing as a cap­tain’s as­sis­tant for Steve (Stricker) in 2017, I re­alised that I wanted to cap­tain the 2019 event at Royal Mel­bourne,” Woods said.

“I’m proud to fol­low in the foot­steps of past cap­tains like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nick­laus, Hale Ir­win, Ken Ven­turi, Fred Cou­ples, Jay Haas and Steve Stricker. The core group of play­ers on the US Team have tal­ent … a lot of tal­ent, en­thu­si­asm and great team ca­ma­raderie. They are easy-go­ing and fun off the course, but ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive in­side the ropes.

“I have no doubt that Ernie will have the In­ter­na­tional Team ready to go in Mel­bourne, and I can­not think of a more fit­ting cap­tain to carry the tra­di­tion of good­will through com­pe­ti­tion than Ernie Els.

“The Sand­belt cour­ses of Aus­tralia are some of my fa­vorite in the world, and I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing Royal Mel­bourne again.”

Els said the task of build­ing a win­ning team that can chal­lenge the US dom­i­nance was im­mense, but one he is look­ing for­ward to tack­ling.

“The Pres­i­dents Cup has pro­vided me with many of the best mem­o­ries of my ca­reer,” Els said.

“To be named cap­tain of the team is an in­cred­i­ble hon­our. There is a fun and tal­ented group of young play­ers emerg­ing from all across the globe for the In­ter­na­tional Team, and I am ea­ger to ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity of build­ing a win­ner when we face the United States at one of my favourite cour­ses and cities in the world at Royal Mel­bourne.

“Tiger and I have had some great du­els in the past, and I look for­ward to the chal­lenge of go­ing against my long-time friend yet again in 2019.”

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