Captain Nick Price and the International team has assembled quite a group of players for The Presidents Cup. Now the big question is can the Internationals end the Americans’ dominance.
The top-10 players for the International and U.S. team who will compete in the 2017 Presidents Cup were determined with the conclusion of the Dell Technologies Championship on September 4. The two team captains, Price and Steve Stricker for the U.S. team, will each make two captain’s selections on September 6, at 5 p.m. EDT, rounding out their 12-player teams. The Presidents Cup—a team, match-play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top golfers, will be held at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, September 26-October 1.
Leading the way for the International team are Australians Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, who finished second, third and fifth, respectively, on the points list. The top point-getter is Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama. Besides that quartet of players, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace (South Africa), Si Woo Kim (South Korea), Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) and Adam Hadwin (Canada) complete the roster of automatic qualifiers.
Scott is making his eighth appearance in the biennial event, but he’s never tasted victory. The closest he came was in his rookie year of 2003 when the two teams tied, with the Americans retaining the Cup. The Internationals’ only victory in 11 previous playings of The Presidents Cup came in 1998, in Australia, at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Day has played in three previous Presidents Cups, while Leishman is a two-time veteran of the tournament.
Rookies this year are Kim, Vegas and Hadwin.
The U.S. side boasts the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Dustin Johnson, a two-time participant in the tournament. Also playing are Justin Thomas, a favorite to win PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors this season, with his five total wins including the PGA Championship. Rounding out the team are Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Chappell. Like their three International counterparts, Thomas, Berger, Kisner, Koepka and Chappell will all be playing in the tournament for the first time.
“It’s huge to make the International team. I’ve been speaking about the Presidents Cup all week that it’s been in the forefront of my mind,” said Hadwin, the first Canadian to qualify on points since Mike Weir in 2009. “I’m disappointed to not play well [at the Dell Technologies Championship], but, I came out here and did what I needed to do to qualify for the team.”
“It’s been a range of emotions the last few days, but now with me having made the team, it’s a great feeling, and my emotions move towards getting ready to win the Presidents Cup for the U.S. team,” said Chappell. “The whole year has been gratifying, to have a daughter, win my first golf tournament (Valero Texas Open) and now be able to represent my country, it’s really cool.
“The (qualifying) system is right,” Chappell continued. For (making a team) to be a culmination of a year and a half or two years, you know, every putt matters. You never know where you’re at or where you’ll be in a year and a half when you’re hitting a putt at the CareerBuilder Challenge and everything seems so unattainable.”
Chappell dramatically moved into the final 10 for the U.S. team, supplanting No. 10 Charley Hoffman by less than one point. Chappell entered the week in 11th position, 23 points behind Hoffman, but tied for 35th at the Dell Technologies Championship to edge Hoffman, who tied for 47th.