US Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and his fellow top South African golfers are now almost certain starters for the 2011 Presidents Cup in Melbourne later this year following a meeting of tour officials at Augusta National.
Ernie Els was reportedly furious when he learned the South African Open would be played November 17-20, the same week as the Presidents Cup, and that he would be torn between defending his title or playing for the International Team.
We are still waiting for the latest standings post Masters but following the Shell Houston Open last week South Africans occupied the top four places in the team – and that was without Schwartzel, who was in at No.6 following the first Australian Robert Allenby.
Without the South African’s that would have put a huge dent in Greg Norman’s International team.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, European Tour CEO George O’Grady and other tour leaders met during the week at Augusta National to find a solution.
Els has revealed that the European Tour and Sunshine Tour officials had agreed to change the dates so that the Open would not be held on the same week as the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
“I think everyone is pretty relieved now,” Els said after his third round at the US Masters on Saturday.
Els said they have agreed to move the South African Open back one week, and that the Dunhill Championship would be played opposite the Presidents Cup.
We’ll update the team standings following the Masters but as of last week Els, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and Tim Clark held the top four places.
Adam Scott was at No. 7 and fellow Masters runner-up Jason Day was out of the team at 11, and theoretically at that time depended on one of two captain’s picks to make the team.
Based on tour performances, the first 10 spots are automatic selections.
Update: Presidents Cup International Team standings following the US Masters ( As at 12/4/2011)
1. Charl Schwartzel
2. Ernie Els
3. Adam Scott
4. Retief Goosen
5. Jason Day
6. Louis Oosthuizen
7. Geoff Ogilvy
8. Tim Clark
9. Robert Allenby
10. Y.E. Yang
US Presidents Cup Team standings
1. Matt Kuchar
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Steve Stricker
4. Dustin Johnson
5. Nick Watney
6. Jim Furyk
7. Hunter Mahan
8. Bubba Watson
9. Mark Wilson
10. Bill Haas
(Tiger Woods just outside the team at No. 11)