At this week’s Champions Tour event in Missouri, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem introduced the captains for the 2015 Presidents Cup, which will take place in New Songdo City, South Korea. Jay Haas was named captain of Team USA and Nick Price was named captain of the International Team. Former captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player joined the press conference as did International vice-captain K.J. Choi.
The American team has won the Presidents Cup in eight of the ten playings of the competition. The lone American loss was in 1998 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, and the famous tie was in 2003 at the Fancourt Hotel and Country Club in South Africa. In 2003, Gary Player captained the International Team and Jack Nicklaus captained the U.S. Team, and the Commissioner had words of praise for their actions, “They came together in 2003, went head‑to‑head, and after four holes of a playoff decided that their teams would share the Cup.” Finchem added, “It was a great moment for sportsmanship, and again, it helped position the Presidents Cup to carry that message forward in sports generally, not just golf.”
Gary Player captained the team in 2005 and 2007, both wins for Jack Nicklaus’ squad. Player believed his players were good enough to win, and suggested he was out-captained, “We haven’t fared as well as we should. We should have done a lot better because our players really are as good as the American players and we should have done better, and maybe Jack was a better captain.”
It is a complete mystery why the supposedly camaraderie-less Americans come together for the Presidents Cup and not the Ryder Cup. Since 1994, the U.S. has lost seven of nine Ryder Cups. What is going on?
As Gary Player said, the International Team is certainly no less talented than the American Team (or the European Team). It is possible that Jack Nicklaus, the greatest of all-time, has something to do with the current winning streak, which has been safely under Fred Couples’ captaincy for the last three Presidents Cup.
Jay Haas isn’t a World Golf Hall of Famer like Nicklaus and Couples, but he certainly exhibits the same level of professionalism that will make him a good captain. Haas has a great understanding of what it means to be selected for a position that has been filled by the legends of the game, “As you can imagine, I’m pretty overwhelmed and excited and humbled by this appointment. I want to thank both Jack and Gary for being here today. I have big shoes to fill in that regard. I was on that team in ’03 in George, South Africa, and it was quite an experience.”
Nick Price captained the International squad in 2012, and is excited to have another crack at winning the Cup, “We had a fantastic team last year. We had a great time. We had a lot of camaraderie. We had so much motivation. They were a great bunch of guys…They got together very quickly. Everyone contributed. It was just a wonderful, wonderful thing to be a part of, and I’m so excited to do it again, particularly in Korea.”
Price’s vice captain hails from South Korea, and is known as a rock solid golfer who will bring a competitive edge to the International Team. Choi said, “I’ll do my very best to help our captain so that the International Team can have a win this time around. As this is the first time for me to become a vice captain for the Presidents Cup, I am feeling immense obligation and burden.” Choi is looking forward to what the Cup will do for golf in Asia, “People in Korea are thrilled and excited about the 2015 Presidents Cup that is to be held in Korea. So we can already see more interest and love for the game being built up. I am quite sure that through this Presidents Cup, the golf business and playing golf in Asia will advance to a higher level.”
The Cup will fittingly be held at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea. Nicklaus is very proud of his gem in New Songdo, “It’s an unbelievable facility. The accommodations are great. The people will love it. I know that the people of Korea have responded very well to it. I’m looking forward to the 2015 Presidents Cup, and it’s been a real honor and pleasure to have been part of four of them as captain.”
Nicklaus’ shadow still looms over the Presidents Cup, which is never a good sign for the Internationals. And the Americans will also have a formidable vice-captain, his name is Fred Couples. Can’t wait for 2015!
–Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)
Quotes are courtesy of ASAP Sports.