Less than seven weeks from the start of competition at The Presidents Cup 2011, the final four players for the event were determined today as U.S. Team Captain Fred Couples and International Team Captain Greg Norman each announced their captain’s picks via teleconference. Couples selected Bill Haas and Tiger Woods, and Norman chose Australians Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley. With these picks, the U.S. Team has 28 previous Presidents Cup appearances amongst its members, including three players who were at the 1998 event when it was played at Royal Melbourne Golf Club (Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and Woods); for the International Team, those numbers are 26 and one (Ernie Els).
The Presidents Cup returns to Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, November 15-20.
U.S. Team Captain’s Picks
In the audition of a lifetime, Bill Haas won the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola on Sunday and became the 2011 FedExCup Champion after a three-hole playoff with fellow U.S. Team member Hunter Mahan, who was a Presidents Cup captain’s pick in 2007 and 2009. Haas made a miraculous up-and-down from the edge of the water on the second playoff hole, then made par on the third playoff hole to defeat Mahan and give Couples every reason to pick him for the U.S. Team, of which Haas’ father, Jay, is a captain’s assistant. Haas became the first player in his 20s to win the FedExCup and only the fifth player to win the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club with all four rounds in the 60s. He was the only player in the field last week to shoot in the 60s every day.
Haas is the second player in Presidents Cup history to earn a captain’s pick the week after a win, joining Ryo Ishikawa, who won the Japan Golf Tour’s Fujisakei Classic the weekend before Norman selected him in 2009.
The win was Haas’ third PGA TOUR victory (2010 Bob Hope Classic, 2010 Viking Classic), but obviously the biggest of his career, considering all that was on the line. The week prior, Haas had a great chance to play his way onto the U.S Team at T3 heading into the final round of the BMW Championship. But a 78 (+7) on Sunday left him T16 for the tournament and No. 12 in the U.S. Team standings.
Haas’ win in Atlanta was his seventh top-10 and 12th top-25 finish of the season in 26 starts.
Haas is one of six “rookies” on the U.S. Team (with Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney and Bubba Watson), matching 1996 for the most in Team history (not including 1994, the first year of the event).
Tiger Woods will be making his seventh-consecutive Presidents Cup appearance, although the first as a captain’s pick. Previously, he had made the U.S. Team as No. 1 in the standings in all but 1998, when he was No. 2 behind David Duval. At The Presidents Cup 2009, Woods posted a 5-0-0 record, joining only two other competitors in event history who went five-for-five at a Presidents Cup: Mark O’Meara (1996); and Shigeki Maruyama (1998). Woods holds the record for most matches won in The Presidents Cup at 18, two better Davis Love III, Vijay Singh and Els.
Woods owns 71 wins on the PGA TOUR, including 14 major championships. His most recent PGA TOUR victory came at the September 2009 BMW Championship, and his last win, globally, was in November 2009 at the JBWere Masters in Melbourne, Australia. Woods was sidelined from competition from May through August this season due to a knee and Achilles injury that forced him to withdraw from THE PLAYERS Championship. In eight PGA TOUR starts, Woods’ best performance is a T4 at the Masters Tournament. His last event was the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut. Woods has committed to play next week’s Frys.com Open in San Martin, Calif.
Woods was 29th when the U.S. Team standings closed, although Couples had said publicly as early as August 25 that he would select Woods as one of his captain’s picks.
International Team Captain’s Picks
With five previous Presidents Cup appearances, Robert Allenby brings a wealth of Presidents Cup experience to the International Team, as well as home-field advantage. He owns 13 PGA Tour of Australasia titles, and in 2005, he became the first player to win the “Triple Crown” of the Australian Masters, Australian PGA and Australian Open in the same year.
Allenby’s five previous Presidents Cup appearances match Retief Goosen for second-most on the current International Team (Els leads the team, with six). He holds an 8-13-3 record and scored 2-1/2 points for the International Team in 2009. Allenby was a captain’s pick for the International Team in 1996 and 2000, making him the first player to earn three captain’s picks in The Presidents Cup history.
Allenby is a four-time PGA TOUR event winner, although it has been almost 10 years to the day since his last victory (September 23, 2001, Marconi Pennsylvania Classic). This season, Allenby has posted three top-10 finishes on the PGA TOUR: a T4 at the Northern Trust Open, an event he won in 2001; and T6 at both the Shell Houston Open and AT&T National. Allenby finished T12 at the BMW Championship to move from No. 14 to No. 13 in the International Team standings. He finished No. 55 in the 2011 FedExCup.
Like Haas, Australia’s Aaron Baddeley will be making his first Presidents Cup appearance, one of four rookies for Norman’s squad. Baddeley finished No. 14 in the International Team standings, but – also like Haas – made a strong case for himself at last week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Baddeley led after three rounds and challenged Haas’ lead on Sunday before finishing T3, one stroke out of the Haas-Mahan playoff. His T3 moved him from No. 27 to No. 14 in the final FedExCup standings, his best result since finishing No. 6 in 2007.
Baddeley is a three-time PGA TOUR winner, including this year’s Northern Trust Open. His win at Riviera Country Club and T3 last week are two of his five top-10 finishes on TOUR this year. Like Allenby, Baddeley brings an impressive Australian resume, and home-field advantage, to The Presidents Cup 2011. He was the youngest player ever to represent Australia in the Eisenhower Trophy, won the Holden Australian Open as an amateur in 1999 and retained his title in 2000, by which time he had turned professional. In 2001, he won the Greg Norman Holden International in Australia. He won the PGA Tour of Australasia’s Order of Merit in 2000/01.
With Allenby and Baddeley as captain’s picks, the International Team will have five Australians for the fifth time in event history (1994, 1996, 2003, 2005), while four countries represented (Australia, Japan, South Africa, South Korea) by the Team is the fewest in history. The previous low was six (1994, 1996, 2003, 2005, 2007).
The top-10 U.S. players who earned the most official PGA TOUR money from the 2009 Wyndham Championship through the 2011 BMW Championship (with money earned in 2011 counting as double) automatically made the U.S. Team. The top-10 international players (excluding those eligible for the European Ryder Cup Team) from the Official World Golf Ranking after the conclusion of the BMW Championship automatically made the International Team.
|1||Jason Day||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|2||Adam Scott||5th Presidents Cup appearance|
|3||Charl Schwartzel||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|4||K.J. Choi||3rd Presidents Cup appearance|
|5||Kyung-tae Kim||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|6||Retief Goosen||6th Presidents Cup appearance|
|7||Geoff Ogilvy||3rd Presidents Cup appearance|
|8||Ernie Els||7th Presidents Cup appearance|
|9||Y.E. Yang||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|10||Ryo Ishikawa||2nd Presidents Cup appearance|
Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby
|1||Matt Kuchar||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|2||Steve Stricker||4th Presidents Cup appearance|
|3||Dustin Johnson||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|4||Webb Simpson||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|5||Nick Watney||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|6||Phil Mickelson||9th Presidents Cup appearance|
|7||Bubba Watson||1st Presidents Cup appearance|
|8||David Toms||4th Presidents Cup appearance|
|9||Hunter Mahan||3rd Presidents Cup appearance|
|10||Jim Furyk||7th Presidents Cup appearance|
Bill Haas, Tiger Woods