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Captain's Blog Vol 5
With a couple of weeks to go, I’m really pleased with the team that I’ve assembled for the Presidents Cup.
I believe we’ve got a wonderful blend of experience and new blood, with six players set to make their Presidents Cup debuts and represent emerging golf regions such as China, Chinese Taipei, Chile and Mexico for the first time in this competition.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that the team I will take to Royal Melbourne Golf Club will be the youngest ever to compete in the Presidents Cup, with an average age of 29.3 years. From our perspective, I think this is terrific and it bodes well for the future of the International Team.
From what I’ve observed through our team meetings and gatherings over the past year or so, I know our rookies – Abraham Ancer, C.T. Pan, Joaquin Niemann, Haotong Li, Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im – are all fired up and ready for the challenge. Despite their young ages, they have proven themselves to be world-class golfers and I can see them doing really well.
Whether it is in the day and age that we are living in, I definitely wasn't that good when I was 20, 21 years old, I can promise you that, but these kids, these guys are world-class and they have proven themselves. They have one hell of a big future in this event.
As for the established team members such as Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Adam Hadwin, Hideki Matsuyama and Louis Oosthuizen, I have confidence they will give every ounce of their energy, effort and determination against the United States Team. As none of them have tasted victory, this can be a massive motivating factor as we try to overcome the Americans.
Going to be awesome having you on the team @JDayGolf on home turf! @PresidentsCup https://t.co/B8ICHCrnxp— Ernie Els (@TheBig_Easy) November 7, 2019
Going to be awesome having you on the team @JDayGolf on home turf! @PresidentsCup https://t.co/B8ICHCrnxp
Our team is solid and certainly very capable of winning the Presidents Cup, but we all know we need to produce our best golf over four days of competition.
Leading the International Team for the first time is an incredible honour and I'm going to try and play my part to get this team over the line. Needless to say, this is the players' mission as well - get enough points to regain the Cup. I am optimistic this Cup at Royal Melbourne can be an ice-breaker on a lot of fronts.
Recently, we finalised our four captain’s picks which wasn’t an easy task. I had to make some tough phone calls to several players as I knew how much they all wanted to be on the team. At the end of the day, we went for guys who have played the best since our qualifying process began last year.
I made calls to Branden Grace, Byeong Hun An, Corey Conners and some of the other guys, Erik Van Rooyen, guys who were really, really close. It was difficult to tell them they were not on the team.
I didn't go all out the statistical way, but yes, I had to look at guys' long-term form. Guys who have played well for a while, and looking at all the stats, I wanted good driving, good ball-striking obviously, and putting was also very important to me. In my experience, it comes down to pressure putting in a lot of instances.
All my 12 guys have great character and they are showing a lot of willingness to lead and to learn. Sungjae and Joaquín, for example, are the quiet young guys, and they are listening and learning. They’ve gone out and shown me what they are capable of doing and they are going to be great for our team.
View this post on Instagram Great to have these four guys on the team! @presidentscup A post shared by Ernie Els (@ernieelsgolf) on Nov 7, 2019 at 1:51am PST
Great to have these four guys on the team! @presidentscup
A post shared by Ernie Els (@ernieelsgolf) on Nov 7, 2019 at 1:51am PST
I'm also very excited to have Jason, who will certainly be one of our natural leaders. I've spoken to him throughout the year just to feel him out and see where he is, what his feeling is on playing in a team format. Every time that I’ve spoken to him, he reiterated he's absolutely 110 percent in. He wants to rectify a lot of things personally but I’ve said to him: ‘This is not a one-man show. Don't worry about personal records. It's all about team.’ He's a player who can play under pressure, and these are the type of players I want.
As for Adam Hadwin, he was such a great member of our team the last time under Captain Price's leadership in New York. I loved the way he interacted with the team. He's got an all-around great game, especially for our team formats in the first four sessions, and he's had a very consistent year and lately he's been playing well – second at Safeway and fourth at Shriners.
It’s an event I never want to miss! So thankful to Captain @TheBig_Easy for the opportunity to represent the #IntlTeam and Canada at this year’s @PresidentsCup! pic.twitter.com/LuAjQmjNAf— adam hadwin (@ahadwingolf) November 7, 2019
It’s an event I never want to miss! So thankful to Captain @TheBig_Easy for the opportunity to represent the #IntlTeam and Canada at this year’s @PresidentsCup! pic.twitter.com/LuAjQmjNAf
With help from my captain’s assistants Geoff Ogilvy, Trevor Immelman, Mike Weir and K.J. Choi, I know we will need nothing short of our very best to pull off a win. I know our 12 players are capable of delivering the points and I’m also very much counting on some really strong support from the Aussie and international fans at Royal Melbourne to be the 13th member of our team.
I can assure everyone that we will be fighting for our honour, our pride and hopefully by the end of four days, we will win the Presidents Cup. Captain Els
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