Presidents Cup captain's picks to be named

Tiger Woods and Ernie Els are set to reveal their captain's picks for next month's Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

06-Nov-2019 By Darren Walton, Australian Associated Press
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Rickie Fowler looms as the unlucky omission when Tiger Woods and Ernie Els finally reveal their captain's picks for next month's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

After months of speculation, Els will name his final International line-up on Thursday before Woods settles on his powerhouse USA outfit on Friday.

Unless he pulls a surprise, such is the embarrassment of riches at his disposal, Woods' four captain's picks - including himself - will all be ranked above the Internationals' top player Adam Scott.

World No.7 Woods all but confirmed his playing presence with his recent wire-to-wire victory at the Zozo Championship, while US Open champion Gary Woodland and perennial major contender Tony Finau also appear locks.

That leaves Woods having to choose between 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed, the man who presented the skipper with his fifth green jacket in April, and five-year Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup mainstay Rickie Fowler.

Widely considered the best player on the planet without a major championship to his credit, Fowler is also significantly more popular with his peers and fans than Reed.

Reed, though, isn't called Captain America for nothing.

Despite not being everyone's cup of tea, his credentials and bulldog spirit can't be questioned.

The world No.15 was the top-scoring American on his 2014 Ryder Cup debut, beat Rory McIlroy as the US won the trophy back in 2016 and last year came up trumps when playing alone as he saw off Tyrrell Hatton at the end of a turbulent week during which he complained at being split from Jordan Spieth.

Fowler, meanwhile, appears to have accepted his fate.

Despite winning in Phoenix this year and posting top-10 finishes -up at the Masters and British Open, Fowler hasn't played since the season-ending Tour Championship as he prepares his wedding and honeymoon instead.

But he could still earn a late reprieve with world No.1 Brooks Koepka said to be in doubt with a knee injury.

Predicting Els' four captain's picks is somewhat more difficult.

Former world No.1 Jason Day is a certainty, while Els is also keen on 2019 US PGA Tour rookie of the year Sungjae Im and young Chilean sensation Joaqin Niemann.

If he goes that way, it would seemingly leave the consistent Byeong Hun An, Canadian Adam Hadwin and Els' South African countryman Branden Grace fighting it out for the last spot.

The International team hasn't won the Presidents Cup since 1998 at Royal Melbourne, losing eight of the past nine contests and drawing the other.

USA: Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay. Possible captain's picks: Tiger Woods, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland.

Internationals: Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Lieshman, Abraham Ancer, Cameron Smith, Haotong Li, CT Pan. Possible captain's picks: Jason Day, Sungjai Im, Byeong Hun An, Joaqin Niemann.


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