Price, Els rejected on Presidents Cup changes
DORAL, Fla. It seems the Presidents Cup will retain the format some say is skewed toward a U.S. victory when the International and U.S. teams make the September trip to Muirfield Village in Ohio for the 10th Presidents Cup.
While captain of the International team, Greg Norman said that the format needs to be changed to make the International 12 more competitive. Since then, he and current captain Nick Price, as well as Ernie Els and others, have pitched an amended format to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and U.S. captain Fred Couples. Price finds the rejection to be clear.
"The issue to all of us is dead and buried," Price said.
Because of the International team's lack of depth, Price has advocated more of a Ryder Cup format with four matches in the alternate shot, rather than six on day one and five on day two.
“Our team doesn't quite have the depth that the American team has,” seven–time participant Els said Wednesday, a day after a meeting on the subject. “Their last player in is about where my (world) ranking is, 25, 26 in the world. Right now I'm like No. 4 on the team.
"The more points we play for, the worse off we are. The Ryder Cup, they play for 28 points; we play for 34.”
If the teams were set today, the U.S. automatic qualifiers would range from Tiger Woods, ranked No. 2 in Official World Golf Ranking, to Hunter Mahan at No. 21. In comparison, the Internationals range from Louis Oosthuizen at No. 6 to Hiroyuki Fujita at No. 49.
The U.S. actually could field two teams of 10 before the Internationals could field just one.
The reasoning that the International team is not as deep as the U.S. team is borne out by the results, with the Americans taking a 7-1-1 advantage into Muirfield Village and a consecutive-win streak of the past four.
Price made separate pleas to Couples and Finchem last year, and Els also has made his feelings known. But the approach has not yielded changes.
So Price had a get-together with his potential players Tuesday night at Doral to see how they wished to proceed. It seems they all were resigned to the fact that the changes they hope for will not be part of this Presidents Cup.
“They've already said no,” Els said of the proposed changes. “But he's trying to get something done for the future. 34 points, 32 points is not a huge difference, but it could be big.”
Oosthuizen attended the meeting and also is disappointed by the fact that neither Finchem nor Couples is willing to make the change to enhance the competition.
“You want to put your strongest team out there, and it'll be a great one,” Oosthuizen said. “I think it'll be a great matchup if it can be the same format as the Ryder Cup. We've taken it that it's not going to change this year, and we're going to go out and try our best, but I think it's going to be a much better competition future wise if they can do it.”