THE top eight automatic qualifiers for the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne have been confirmed with Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith to take their place as International Team members under captain Ernie Els in December.
One notable name missing from the list is Jason Day, now also out of the PGA Tour Championship final after a lackluster end to his season.
Day still has a chance to be named as part of the 12 man squad to take on the Tiger Woods captained American team when the two captains get to name their four discretionary selections in a few weeks’ time.
The International team will be spearheaded by veterans Leishman, Scott, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, while first-timers include Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, the 2018 Emirates Australian Open champion, Queenslander Smith, Taipei’s CT Pan and China’s Haotong Li.
Day, who has represented the International team in the past four Presidents Cups, finished up ninth in the standings, which are drawn from Fedex Cup points scored over the previous 12 months.
Els said he was looking to his top ranked player, Marc Leishman, for leadership in a group that will include a number of debutantes.
The US team top eight has also been finalised and is comprised of the formidable line-up of Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau.
US number one Koepka says he is looking forward to what will be his first-ever visit to Australia.
“I’ve heard a lot about it from guys like Tiger (Woods), Phil (Mickelson), these guys have talked about unbelievable the place is,” he told SEN radio. “Australia’s always been on my bucket list of places of I wanted to go. I‘ve been around the world; just never been there. It’ll be nice to knock it off the bucket list and play some golf while doing it.”
Woods said he is excited by the make up of his top eight.
“This is the core of the team. These guys have earned it. They’ve proven that they belong on the team,” Woods said.
“You’ve got some veterans, whether it’s Webby, Kuch or Dustin, who have been part of the teams for a very long time, and we have some newcomers. We have a nice mix.”
“It’s a younger team, and that’s what we want to see. We want to see a little turnover and get the younger guys playing on these teams because they’re going to be a part of it for a very long time going forward. Really, I can’t wait to get some of these young guys down to Royal Melbourne to experience golf in the sandbelt region and get to experience how much the fans love and appreciate sports and golf in that area of the world.”
The Internationals only success in 12 playings of the cup was at Royal Melbourne in 1998. The USA dominated the last contest at Liberty National in New Jersey two years ago, winning 19-11.
The competition is from December 12-15 at Royal Melbourne’s composite course, which previously hosted the Presidents Cup in 1998 and 2011.
For full ticketing and info visit PresidentsCup.com