Els excited at new talents on International front for Presidents Cup

Fri 02 Nov 2018

Els excited at new talents on International front for Presidents Cup

  • SHARE

Kuala Lumpur, November 2:  International team captain Ernie Els is excited at the prospect of helming a squad sprinkled with new blood for the Presidents Cup against the United States at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia next year.

Els, a 19-time PGA TOUR winner, featured in two events during the PGA TOUR’s recent Asian Swing where he kept an eye on the progress of emerging stars such as Korea’s Siwoo Kim and Sungjae Im, Australian Cameron Smith, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, India’s Shubhankar Sharma, Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira, Argentinean Emiliano Grillo, China’s Haotong Li and C.T. Pan of Chinese Taipei.

With established International team members, Marc Leishman, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott, showing good form since the start of the race to make the International team in August, Els cannot wait for his squad to take shape over the next 10 months.

“Those are the type of guys we want on the team,” said Els, who played in eight Presidents Cups and was assistant captain to Nick Price last year.

“Leish (Marc Leishman) is a superstar, Shubhankar is getting there and Grillo's been knocking on the door. These guys, they're going to be the backbone of the team. Cameron, he's also world class now, Australian, and very familiar with Royal Melbourne and the sandhill links, so he could be another star player down there. He could be a guy to really lean on. Even if he doesn't make the team, he's probably going to be a pick. Shubhankar could play it next year, so it could be a real different team, young team, a lot of Asian players, a lot of international players, so I’m looking forward to going with some fresh troops,” he added.

At the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, Leishman claimed his fourth PGA TOUR victory by tying the tournament record of 26-under-par 262 while five other International players – Grillo (T2), Abraham Ancer (T5), Louis Oosthuizen (T5), Sharma (T10) and Kim (T10) – finished in the top-10.

Four internationals – Jason Day (T5), Smith (T7), Adam Hadwin (T10) and Scott (T10) – featured in the top-10 at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea while Kiradech (T4), Day (T11), Li (T11), Grillo (T14) and Scott (T18) finished in the top-20 in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions last Sunday.

In Korea, Els played nine holes in a practice round with 22-year-old Sharma, whom the South African had encountered during a golf clinic in New Delhi some 10 years ago. He also spent time speaking to various other potential international team members, including 20-year-old Im, the 2018 Web.com Player of the Year.

In eight appearances, Els has only been on one winning team when the Presidents Cup was played in Royal Melbourne in 1998. He also played his way into Presidents Cup folklore for his famous duel-in-the-dark with Tiger Woods in 2003 in South Africa which led to the first draw in the biennial team competition. Woods will captain the U.S. team when the Presidents Cup is held from December 9 to 15 at Royal Melbourne, Australia.

Nicknamed the Big Easy, Els is prepared to unleash the rookies in Melbourne against a U.S. team which has won the last seven editions, including a narrow 15.5 – 14.5 win in South Korea three years ago when the International team was on “home” turf.

 

“There's still a long way to go (to qualifying), but I'm looking forward to fresh faces.  And the veterans, hopefully they're playing well,” said Els.

“I just want them to be keen. I want them to be up for it. Obviously, our team is not renowned like the U.S. team is. The U.S. team is a well-oiled team, they play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cup against us, so they're a very mature team.

“We are going to be a young team, inexperienced, but that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course, strategy-wise, and I'm going to share that with my players. I just want players that want to be there, that want to play.  I just want players that want to get up and be shown.”

The International team race began in August and will conclude after the 2019 TOUR Championship next August, with the leading eight players earning automatic selection. Els will have four picks.

Els, who will visit Royal Melbourne on November 25-26 for his captain’s visit, is hoping to get off on a winning note as captain. “Being captain of the Presidents Cup is a real honor and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be a very diverse team with the way things are shaping up already. We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team. It's going to be a very diverse group from probably six, seven to eight nations, so it could be a very interesting time coming up. It's going to be exciting,” he said.

He will keep a close eye on some of the young talents coming through including Sharma and Im, who earned his PGA TOUR card through the Web.com Tour in the recent season.

“Obviously him (Im) winning the Web.com, he won twice and winning the money list and now fully fledged on the PGA TOUR and having a top-five finish at the Safeway Open, so the kid is for real. He's only 20 years old and he's got a really unbelievable future ahead of him,” said Els.

“Shubhankar has won twice in the last 12 months and he’s still only 22, so he’s another one to watch.”

Sharma, who is leading the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity standings, said:  “The next Presidents Cup is going to be huge with Ernie and Tiger being the captains. The International Team could have pulled off a great win in Korea (in 2015). It definitely ranks in the top three (goals) with the majors and with the WGCs. Playing the Presidents Cup would be a huge honour.”

Leishman is also up for the challenge, saying that home ground advantage could be key in the team’s hopes of turning the tide against the U.S. team. “Being back at Royal Melbourne is going to be awesome. I've played in three President Cups so far, two in America, one in Korea, so to play one in Melbourne again with all my friends and family there is going to be awesome. Hoping I can continue this form, be a leader on that team. Hopefully we can give the Americans a bit of trouble next year,” said Leishman.

Scott hopes to make it a ninth appearance in the Presidents Cup, especially when he has yet to taste victory in the team competition. “I want to go back and play in Australia … Ernie and I have had such a great friendship for a long time now, to play under him would be fantastic for me. He's very, very excited and enthusiastic about making a difference for this International Team, so I would love to be a part of that,” said Scott, a former World Number one.

“I think there's a big chance of that (new players making the team). I think what we're seeing is more and more young guys, there's a bit of that transition going on now in the internationals from some of the older guys getting on and the young guys taking their place.  Hopefully this old guy can hang on for another one.”

Ends.

About the Presidents Cup

The Presidents Cup, a team match play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top golfers – 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe – is held every two years, and since 1996 has alternated between United States and international venues. The Presidents Cup was developed to give the world’s best non-European players an opportunity to compete in international team match-play competition. The U.S. Team has won nine of the 11 previous Presidents Cups, and the only outright win by the International Team came at the 1998 event in Melbourne. A historic 17-17 tie came in 2003 when the event was held in South Africa.

Citi, Alfa Romeo and Rolex are the exclusive Global Partners of the Presidents Cup.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com| Twitter: @Citi| YouTube:

www.youtube.com/citi  Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com  Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn:

www.linkedin.com/company/citi

About Alfa Romeo

Since its foundation in Milan, Italy, in 1910, Alfa Romeo continues to design and craft some of the most stunning and premium vehicles in automotive history, all while building on a racing heritage that includes some of the most talented and storied drivers and victories.

Crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the Cassino plant in Italy, the all-new Stelvio lineup is a testament to Alfa Romeo’s perfect balance of engineering and emotion, creating a premium mid-size SUV for driving enthusiasts that stands out in one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the U.S. Born from the world’s greatest driving road – Stelvio Pass – the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio sets a new benchmark in performance, style and technology in an SUV that only Italy could create. The innovative Q4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system – standard on all Stelvio models, including the Quadrifoglio, provides additional driving confidence and superior control. Infused with Italian passion, craftsmanship and innovation, the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio will conquer the winding road for which it is named.

As the first of a new generation of vehicles on an all-new platform, the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Giulia Ti models embody Alfa Romeo’s La meccanica delle emozioni (the mechanics of emotion) spirit, delivering race-inspired performance with a class-leading 280 horsepower, advanced technologies that include the available Q4 all-wheel-drive system, seductive Italian style and an exhilarating driving experience to the premium mid-size sedan segment. As the “halo” model in the lineup, Giulia Quadrifoglio highlights Alfa Romeo’s motorsport knowhow with a best-in-class, 505-horsepower, 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that earns the title of the most powerful Alfa Romeo production engine ever and the quickest with a class-leading 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds, plus it enabled a record-setting Nürburgring lap time of 7:32 – the fastest ever by a four-door production sedan.

The handcrafted Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe and 4C Spider, with its race-inspired, mid-engine design and state-of-the-art, Formula 1-inspired carbon fiber monocoque chassis, enables an incredible power-to-weight ratio and with advanced technologies, including the all-aluminum 1750 turbocharged and intercooled engine with direct-injection and dual variable-valve timing, which enables supercar-level performance, including 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds.

Follow Alfa Romeo brand news and video on:

Website: www.alfaromeousa.com

Newsroom: FCA US Media Website

Facebook: Alfa Romeo USA

Instagram: @alfaromeousa

Twitter: @alfaromeousa

About ROLEX

Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Through philanthropic programmes and a broad palette of sponsorship activities, Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports and exploration, and encourages the spirit of enterprise, as well as the conservation of natural environments.

About Melbourne, Australia

Voted the world’s most liveable city for the past seven years, Melbourne is a leader in staging international sporting and cultural events. Its friendly people welcome visitors from around the globe to a city that is famed for its laneways and cafe culture, known as Australia's coffee capital, and home to a vibrant arts, music and fashion scene.

Melbourne's culinary credentials are attracting global attention and the city is the gateway to the State of Victoria, including 21 wine regions, the iconic Great Ocean Road scenic drive and abundant native Australian wildlife. Melbourne offers everything from international surf beaches, islands and coastal experiences to Alpine mountain ranges and inland lakes. Melbourne is also a popular destination for domestic and international golf tourism, famed for its Sandbelt golf courses and home to picturesque, challenging fairways that suit every ability.