PRESIDENTS CUP International Team Captain Greg Norman has named Australians Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley in his 12 man squad to take on the Americans at Royal Melbourne in November.
US Captain Fred Couples confirmed he would be taking Tiger Woods and added Tour Championship winner Bill Haas when the official captain’s picks were announced today.
Norman said last week he would be choosing “the man not the flag” but obviously the local knowledge of the two Australian golfers could not be discounted.
Allenby, who will be making his fifth Presidents Cup appearance (a record third as a captain’s pick) has had considerable success on his home soil.
“I picked Robert Allenby as his performance around Royal Melbourne over the years has been extraordinary and his love for the golf course is very evident, his skill playing it is there and he has a lot of tenacity in these team competitions. It made him an automatic pick for me,” Norman said today at the captains media conference.
Baddeley has had a win on the US PGA Tour this year and five top tens, but no doubt played his way onto the team last weekend when he led the Tour Championship after three rounds and eventually finished just a stroke behind Haas tied for third.
Norman revealed this morning the remaining spot in the team had come down to the head to head performance last weekend of Baddeley and John Senden.
“I’m so excited and thankful that Greg picked me to be part of my first Presidents Cup team,” Baddeley said.
“It’s extremely special and it’s an honor to play for your country, and because I remember back in ’98 when The Presidents Cup was there last, I have vivid memories of watching the tournament and being there and being outside the ropes.”
The two Aussies will now join three of their compatriots already in the International Team as automatic selections. They are Jason Day, Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy.
The rest of the team consists of South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, South Koreans KJ Choi, Kim Kyung-tae and YE Yang plus Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa.
Couples goes with Woods and Haas
Couples said he was “very excited” Woods would be on the team.
“I made that pick, I don’t know, six weeks ago,” Couples said. “We’ve had a few conversations since then and a lot of texts, and I’m just thrilled that Tiger is healthy and ready to play and wants to be on the team.”
His second pick made it a very big week for Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winner Haas.
“My second pick is Bill Haas, last week’s double?winner,” Couples said. “Bill for the last two years has played phenomenal golf, winning three times and losing a couple of times in a playoff and it was a very close race with Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley. But Bill, knowing he had to win last week to be on the team he went out and did it..” .
The automatic US qualifiers were Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and David Toms.
The 2011 Presidents Cup will take place from November 17 – 20 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, scene of the International Team’s only victory in 1998.