OTHER stocks might be up the creek at the moment but you’d certainly like to have shares in the Presidents Cup International Team after recent performances.
Team captain Greg Norman was watching the World Golf Championships Bridgestone International at the weekend with great interest and must have been impressed when the likes of Adam Scott, Jason Day and Ryo Ishikawa lit up the final round.
“What I am seeing on the leaderboard of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational this week illustrates once again how the pendulum of golf continues to swing in a global direction,” Norman commented.
“Take for instance, the development that has taken place with Ryo since he blasted on the scene leading up to the 2009 Presidents Cup and the emergence of a “new star” in Jason Day, with his very impressive climb up the ladder of the world rankings, … to a veteran and “old boy” of this trio Adam Scott, who seems to have found his competitor level and skills that propelled him into the top five in the world at one stage.”
Norman is scheduled to meet with prospective team hopefuls at the US PGA Championship in Atlanta this week and will be confident of wresting Americans’ 6-1-1 stranglehold of the Presidents Cup from November 17 to 21 at Royal Melbourne, scene in 1998 of the Internationals only victory.
With South African Charl Schwartzel’s Masters triumph from Scott and Day, Rory McIlroy’s runaway US Open success and Darren Clarke’s emotional British Open win, Norman said the days of perceived US dominance of world golf were gone.
“I have been very open about my thoughts and opinions on the fact that the game of golf has truly gone global again, reminiscent of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s,” Norman said. “With the domination of Northern Ireland, England, South Africa, Argentina and Europe over the past few years, and now, this week the other side of the world is stepping up to the plate and rightfully so.
“I love seeing where the game is right now with the quality and character of players. In the long run, the rest of the world elevating their game will serve as a stimulant for the Americans to elevate their games in an attempt to regain the domination they once had. Professional golf is the healthiest it has been in a long time and with that, it is in a great place.”
Automatic Presidents Cup selections on September 18
American and International players now have less than six weeks to gain one of the 10 automatic spots available for those with the highest rankings in each team.
That will happen after the BMW Championship on September 18 and the two captains picks for each team will be announced by Norman and US Captain Fred Couples on September 28.
Presidents Cup Team Standings (as of 9/11/11)
(First 10 players in each group automatic selections)
1. Jason Day, 2. Adam Scott, 3. Charl Schwartzel, 3. K J Choi, 5. Kyung-tae Kim (6th at Firestone), 6. Retief Goosen, 7. Ernie Els, 8. Louis Oosthuizen, 9. Tim Clark, 10 Y E Yang.
11. Ryo Ishikawa, 12. Geoff Ogilvy, 13. Robert Allenby, 14. Aaron Baddeley.
1. Steve Stricker, 2. Matt Kuchar, 3. Phil Mickelson, 4. Nick Watney, 5. Dustin Johnson, 6. Bubba Watson, 7. Hunter Mahan, 8. Bill Hass, 9. David Toms, 10. Jim Furyk.
11. Rickie Fowler, 12. Bo Van Pelt, 13. Brandt Snedeker, 14. Zach Johnson. (24. Tiger Woods).
Typing those American names and reviewing the golfing talent contained therein, it is obvious the 2011 Presidents Cup is not going to be a cakewalk – even given the local advantage for the Australian players. It should be a fascinating contest.
As for the captain’s picks you would think Norman would go for Ishikawa (he looks like a much more serious golfer with that haircut) and probably Ogilvy as a sand belt specialist. Allenby and Baddeley will have to pull of some top wins or top placings in the next few weeks.
Couples has already basically said he will pick Woods if he is fit and will find it hard to go past Fowler, just for the outfits alone he will be good value.