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Koepka, Johnson, Thomas headline strong team
The top eight qualifiers for the 2019 Presidents Cup U.S. Team are final and captain Tiger Woods will lead a group that are all inside the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking, have a combined 11 PGA TOUR victories this season. The Presidents Cup will return to Melbourne, Australia and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time, December 9-15, 2019.
“This is the core of the team. These guys have earned it. They've proven that they belong on the team,” said U.S. Team Captain Tiger Woods. “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.”
· Of the eight players, five are in their 20s with Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay qualifying for the first time.
· Making his fifth Presidents Cup appearance, Matt Kuchar is the most experienced player in the top eight. Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson each played on the 2011 U.S. Team that was victorious at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
· Brooks Koepka leads the U.S. Team as the No. 1-ranked player in the world and has three wins this season on the PGA TOUR. Koepka, Johnson, Kuchar and Justin Thomas were all members of the victorious U.S. Team in 2017.
· Thomas qualifies on the heels of his victory at the BMW Championship on Sunday. The win moved Thomas to No. 2 in the standings.
NO. 1 - BROOKS KOEPKA
PGA TOUR Wins: 7
Presidents Cup: 1 (2017) / 2-2-0 record
2018/19 Highlights: Reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year has three wins at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, the PGA Championship and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He also has three runner-up finishes including the Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open. Ranks 1st in Par 4 scoring average on the PGA TOUR this season.
Notable Has won four majors and a World Golf Championships event. Has been No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for a total of 23 weeks including the last 14 consecutive weeks.
Brooks Koepka Quotes: “It's always fun to represent the United States. I think it's a special honor and something we don't take lightly. But at the same time, I've never been to Australia. So it's been on my bucket list for a long time to get down there and go play golf and go see Australia. So to get down there at the end of the year in December will be a special treat and to do it with guys that I've become really close with over the last couple years, three years.”
“To be able to be a part of these teams, it's so much fun. I don't think people realize what goes on behind closed doors. And how much fun it is for us and you build those relationships with these guys, and we're gonna have them rest of our lives.”
Tiger Woods Quote: “It's hard not to say that he's (Brooks) had one of the most incredible major championship runs of all time. What he's done the last couple years has been truly remarkable in major championships. He's beaten all of us, and what he brings to the team is that toughness that we want, that fire. But he's also that calmness, too, that calming factor.”
NO. 2 - JUSTIN THOMAS
PGA TOUR Wins: 10
Presidents Cup: 3 (2017) / 3-1-1 record
2018/19 Highlights: Saved the best for last as his first victory of the season came in the final week of qualification on Sunday at the BMW Championship. The win marked his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
Notable Only player on the team with one major, one WGC and a FedExCup. Ranks 1st in birdie average on the PGA TOUR this season.
Justin Thomas Quote: “I'm very excited. I've never been to Australia before, so to just go to Australia, is exciting in itself. I've had a blast with my two team events, obviously, one a little bit more fun than the other getting it done at the Presidents Cup at Liberty National two years ago. So hoping to recreate some of those memories, but to be able to play for Tiger and have a very, very solid deep team again. It's something that we're all looking forward to and excited for.”
Tiger Woods Quote: “What I saw as a vice captain at Liberty National, the fire, his first Cup, his first team event, and he was so just enthusiastic, and what a great team guy. Incredible in the locker room. Everybody loves him, and he's got that little fiery personality that you want.”
NO. 3 DUSTIN JOHNSON
OWGR: 2nd (2nd on current ranking)
PGA TOUR Wins: 20
Presidents Cup: 3 (2011, 2015, 2017) / 8-4-2 record
2018/19 Highlights: Won the WGC-Mexico Championship as part of seven top-10 finishes
Notable Played in Melbourne in 2011 where he was paired with Tiger Woods for three matches. One major championship win, six career WGC victories. Has at least one victory in each of the last 12 consecutive seasons on the PGA TOUR.
Tiger Woods Quote: “DJ has been on the team for a long time. I played with him in 2011 down there in Melbourne, and what an incredible player and incredible partner. He brings experience, also a lot of game, and so it'll be fun to have him on the team again and see him out there playing because what he did down in Melbourne last time, he played really solidly. Looking forward to that again.”
NO. 4 PATRICK CANTLAY
PGA TOUR Wins: 2
2018/19 Highlights: Won at the Memorial Tournament and also finished runner-up at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open as well as the BMW Championship this season. Cantlay also finished third at the RBC Heritage and the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods Quote: “Patrick has never been a part of the teams before, so this will be new for him. It will be exciting to have him on the team. He's kind of quiet, quiet and kind of reserved, but we've gotten to know him -- I've gotten to know him a little bit from being on the training tables next to him, and what a great kid. When we go down to Melbourne, it's a golf course which you have to putt well, and he's one of the best putters we've got.”
NO. 5 XANDER SCHAUFFELE
PGA TOUR Wins: 4
Presidents Cup: Making first appearance
2019 Highlights: Victories at the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Sentry Tournament of Champions to go along with a runner-up at the Masters and a T3 at the U.S. Open.
Tiger Woods Quote: “Xander is new. He's never been on any of the teams before, so this will be new for him. But Xander, he's just like Mr. Consistent. He just doesn't do anything wrong. He's just solid. We want guys like him on the team.”
NO. 6 WEBB SIMPSON
PGA TOUR Wins: 5
Presidents Cup: 2 (2011, 2013) / 5-3-2 record
2018/19 Highlights: Three runner-up finishes (RBC Canadian Open, WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Wyndham Championship)
Notable:Played in 2011 at Royal Melbourne where he and Bubba Watson were the first team out in each of the first three rounds collecting three points for his team. Finished the event with a 3-2-0 record. Winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2018 PLAYERS Championship
Quote: “To think that growing up playing golf that one day I could play for Tiger Woods as a captain is something I would only dream about. To do it and play on a Presidents Cup team is a great honor, but more special knowing it’s been six years since my last Presidents Cup team. I am really looking forward to it.”
Tiger Woods Quote: “Webby was down there with us in 2011, as well, and what an enthusiastic personality. It's infectious. You know, I was on teams with him for a number of years, and just great in the team room. I mean, he's one of the guys that you want to have with that energy being part of a team like this.”
NO. 7 MATT KUCHAR
PGA TOUR Wins: 9
Presidents Cup: 4 (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017) / 6-8-2 record
2018/19 Highlights: Has two wins (Mayakoba and Sony Open) and two runner-up finishes this year.
Notable: Played in Melbourne in 2011. Has won a PLAYERS Championship and a World Golf Championships. Will reach the season-ending TOUR Championship for the ninth time in his last 10 season on the PGA TOUR.
Quote: “Fantastic memories of playing in Australia. Royal Melbourne is one of the best golf courses in the world. All of the courses in the Sandbelt region are incredible. To get to play with Tiger as our captain is a very cool opportunities and something I’m truly looking forward to. These team events are some of the best memories we have as players.”
Tiger Woods Quote: “Kuch, I played with him in 2011 down there in Melbourne. Kuch is just Kuch. He's a little bit off at times, and we love that about him because he keeps us loose. There are times when, yeah, the team can get a little tight, but Kuch will have one liners here and there, have stories and make all of us laugh. You want that type of person in the team room. “
NO. 8 BRYSON DECHAMBEAU
Presidents Cup: 0
2018/19 Highlights: Won the Shriners Hospitals for Children in the fall following back-to-back wins in the Playoffs in 2018.
Tiger Woods Quote: “Yeah, Bryson, this will be new for him. You know, I got a chance to play with him on the Ryder Cup team last year, and what an incredible player. I mean, he does things differently. He does it his own way. But he does it really well and really efficiently. We want young guys like this on the team because he's going to be part of these teams for a very long time.”
Four Captain’s selections will be determined the week of November 4th.
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