Woods, Els lead way in Presidents Cup
Ernie Els was always the logical choice to be the International team’s next captain in the Presidents Cup.
Tiger Woods at first thought it might be too soon for him.
That changed a couple of months ago when Woods asked PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan about the US captain for next year’s matches in Australia, and the usual suspects were mentioned. Monahan asked if anyone had been left out, and Woods added another name to the shortlist. ‘‘Me.’’
Woods and Els both played eight times in the Presidents Cup and were involved in a tied high-stakes playoff. They were introduced as captains yesterday. The
2019 event will be played over December
12-15 at Royal Melbourne, the latest ever in the year.
Woods was an assistant captain when the American won for the seventh straight time, 19-11, last year at Liberty National. In early discussions about the next one, Woods said he was more comfortable serving as an assistant.
‘‘But then after a little bit of thought I said, ‘You know what? That sounds like something I really want to do,’’’ Woods said. ‘‘I called Jay up and said, ‘Might you be interested in me possibly being the captain in 2019?’ Silence. And he said, ‘Yeah, we might be able to work that out.’ So here I am.’’
Still to be determined is whether Woods plays.
Coming off his fourth back surgery, Woods took a big step in his comeback last week when he finished one shot behind at the Valspar Championship.
‘‘I would like to get to a point where I would have to make that decision, get to where I’m playing well enough where I could make the team on points,’’ Woods said. ‘‘But I wouldn’t want to have the conversation and go, ‘Self.’ And so let’s just see how it progresses.’’
Next year’s matches will present a few changes in qualifying and format.
Both teams will get four captain’s picks instead of two, and qualifying will end after the Tour Championship, expected to be held early September.