by Courtesy of Ernie Els / PGA Tour
Captain Ernie Els from South Africa and assistant captain Trevor Immelman from South Africa pose with Presidentends Cup International Team towels. (Photo courtesy of Keyur Khamar / PGA TOUR)
The past few months have been very exciting for the international team, with many of our potential players producing great golf and achieving worldwide success.
Over a six-week period, we witnessed three PGA TOUR wins from the Canadian Corey Conners (Valero Texas Open), C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei (RBC Heritage) and South Korea Sung Kang (AT & T Byron Nelson) who have improved their chances of qualifying for the international team to beat the American team in the Presidential Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia of December 9-15.
Winning the PGA TOUR is one of the ultimate dreams for every aspiring golfer and it was very impressive how Corey, C.T and Sung Kang fought for their first win in the US. More importantly, I was encouraged to hear all three players say how determined they are to fight for their presidential cup seats. Their enthusiasm will contribute to generating a lot of positive buzz and energy in the team room, which is important.
I was happy to see Sung Kang continue his victory with a seventh place in the PGA Championship, while Adam Scott, who is one of the strong points of our team, closed the T8. Another international player that has caught my attention is Thailand & # 39; s Jazz Janewattananond, with whom I recently had the chance to play in Malaysia. This boy has talent and at Bethpage Black he showed us what he can do with a solid T14 finish that goes to 12th place in the rankings.
Although it seems like the world got acquainted with Jazz last week, this 23-year-old has had his professional share in professional success after turning professional at the age of 15. He won three times during the Asian Tour and beat a strong field at the Singapore Open this year. Because the PGA was only his fourth PGA TOUR start, it was quite encouraging to see him perform so well under enormous pressure.
But I would be negligent if I didn't congratulate Brooks Koepka for his impressive win. What he has achieved in recent years is nothing short of remarkable, and he will become a formidable opponent as part of the American team in December.
Currently our top 8 players on the International Team points list consist of four established President Cup team members in Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day while Cameron Smith, Haotong Li, Justin Harding and Abraham Ancer are in a good position are in order to book their maiden appearance, with qualifying closure in mid-August. I will then have four captains captains to round up my 12-strong team in early November after the Asia swing of the PGA TOUR.
The world knows @jazzjanegolf now!
He has not yet cracked the top 8 car qualification, but the Thai star rose from 16-> 12 in Captain @ TheBig_Easy & # 39; s # IntlTeam classification after sparkling on Bethpage.
Complete rankings: https://t.co/ezr8ue0OZB pic.twitter.com/POtKEzMReselko19459005]
– Presidential Cup (@PresidentsCup) May 20, 2019
We have seen several times what Cameron can do on the golf course and am also impressed by Haotong and Justin, after a number of striking performances. Haotong, whom I played with when he shot those amazing 63 in the final round of the 2017 Open Championship, is tenacious and fiery when he enters the & # 39; zone & # 39; and he has shown much of his heart as second in Dustin Johnson in Saudi Arabia earlier this year. We all saw how he supported it with another strong show at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he reached the round of 16 after excellent group wins over two top players in Alex Noren and Brooks Koepka.
I have been following Justin's progress closely since he started playing during the Sunshine Tour and it was great to see his turnout in the last 18 months, where he won five times in Asia, South Africa and the European Tour. He is a fighter with a wonderful short match and he showed all those qualities with victories over Luke List and Matthew Fitzpatrick in the Match Play before he was stopped by Rory McIlroy.
It was great to see how his self-confidence and play have risen to new heights and Justin showed us during the Masters tournament that he can become a world player with an impressive T12 finish in his debut. A career first PGA TOUR top-10 at AT&T Byron Nelson has only cemented his growing reputation and it would surprise me the least if he sealed his ticket to Australia.
I was happy to see Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace get the round of 16 during the Match Play team that our team will come in handy when we are confronted with a strong American team led by Tiger Woods.
As a team captain for the first time, I need a lot of preparation and thoughts and I believe we had a fruitful week during the Zurich Classic or New Orleans. As the only official two-person FedExCup tournament on TOUR, our players were able to get closer to each other and try out a number of four-ball and foursome partnerships.
Many of our boys have chosen a collaboration such as Jason Day, Adam Scott, Louis and Charl Schwartzel, Justin with Branden, Abraham Ancer and Jhonattan Vegas and Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma.
We also stayed in the same hotel in New Orleans and enjoyed a number of fun team building sessions where the goal was to introduce the new guys to the more established players. As you know, our team consists of golfers of different nationalities and cultures and it is very important to learn as one team, hence the reason for our new international team logo incorporating the national flags of the respective players
I also found what my friend Trevor Immelman said during our press conference together in the Zurich Classic, where we worked together. He believes that the diversity of our team can be our strength, and I fully agree. This is something we will continue to use in the coming months as part of our plans to evict the US Presidential Cup
Speaking of Trevor, I am happy and honored that he and Mike Weir and K.J. Choi, I agreed to be my captain's assistant and to participate in Geoff Ogilvy that we announced at the World Cup of Golf in November. I have played alongside the three boys in different Presidential Cups and tournaments around the world and I know they have the same passion, drive and determination to create a winning formula for our team. They still compete regularly on the PGA TOUR and I believe that their relationships with our international players will be an asset to our team.
On a personal note, I was overjoyed to be the first golfer to have registered 300 career top 10 & # 39; s since the introduction of the Official World Golf Ranking in 1986 after my T7 finish at the Maybank Championship. Admittedly, my last three or four years have been a struggle, so I was really happy that I played some good golf in Malaysia.
Another player who also recently played a good golf was Tiger and I want to congratulate him on his sensational win at the Masters tournament. What he did at Augusta National was great and I couldn't have been happier because he knew what he had been through in recent years after his back-battles. But if we meet in December in Royal Melbourne, I will do my best to outsmart him.
I have heard that ticket sales for the Presidential Cup have been very good and if you are an international golf or sports fan living in Melbourne or somewhere near Australia, make sure you buy your tickets now at www.presidentscup .com and welcome us to Royal Melbourne!
See you for now.