TIGER Woods and Ernie Els will be facing off as as Presidents Cup captains when the the US and International Teams clash at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne in 2019.
The high profile pair will be rookie captains at what will be the biennial event’s 13th edition but they will be the most experienced captains in the cup’s 25 year history.
Organisers are no doubt hoping Woods and Els will boost worldwide attention on the tournament, returning to the iconic Melbourne sandbelt course – scene of the Internationals lone victory in 1998 – for an unprecedented third time.
Both golfers 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 in 2017.
“Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have each been part of the fabric of the Presidents Cup as competitors and as ambassadors to the event,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan this week.
“Ernie carries the flag for international golf as a legendary figure both on and off the golf course, while Tiger has been one of the most transcendent athletes the sport has ever seen. These two have served, and will continue to serve, as a bridge between past team members and captains who laid the foundation for the Presidents Cup and the stars of today who are embracing the hallmarks of the event – golf on a global stage, a love and passion for the game and the impact the Presidents Cup has in emerging markets and through charity.”
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 U.S. captain.
“After working as a captain’s assistant for Steve in 2017, I realized that I wanted to captain the 2019 event at Royal Melbourne,” said Woods, who is in the midst of an impressive comeback on the US PGA TOUR.
“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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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,” said Els.
“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 favorite 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 longtime friend yet again in 2019.”
— Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) March 13, 2018
This year Melbourne will also host the 59th edition of the World Cup of Golf at The Metropolitan Golf Club from November 21-15.
Melbourne holds the distinction as the site of the lone International Team’s Presidents Cup victory in 1998, which saw Peter Thomson’s International Team defeat Jack Nicklaus’ U.S. Team, 20.5 to 11.5. In 2011, Fred Couples led the U.S. Team to a 19-15 win over Greg Norman and the Internationals.
The 2019 event will be staged from December 9-15. The 1998 event was also held in December, a date that traditionally works well with other golf tournaments held in Australia.
Presidents Cup format and eligibility changes
In addition to the announcement of the two captains, officials also unveiled minor changes to format requirements and eligibility for the 2019 Presidents Cup. Each player shall play a minimum of one match prior to the final-round singles matches. This is a change from past years where players were required to play twice during the same time frame. Additionally, the top eight players for the International and U.S. Team standings will officially qualify following the completion of the 2019 PGA TOUR Championship. Captains will later select four captains’ picks (at date to be determined) closer to the December 2019 event.
For more information visit www.presidentscup.com.
Congrats to @TigerWoods and @TheBig_Easy! Both were great competitors on @PresidentsCup teams @garyplayer and I captained, and event is in great hands w/ these 2 leaders. Hope these friends from US & South Africa can create the kind of special memories Gary and I cherish today! pic.twitter.com/OnMEkPHdUx
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) March 13, 2018