BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Fred Couples will get a third chance to be Presidents Cup captain next year, but Greg Norman will be on the outside looking in.
Sources close to the Presidents Cup have told Golfweek that Couples will return to lead the U.S. team in the biennial matches and Nick Price of Zimbabwe will captain the International team in 2013 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The announcement is expected Tuesday at Muirfield Village, site of next week’s Memorial Tournament.
Speculation had centered on Price, 55, being named International captain even before the Internationals lost to the U.S., 19-15, last year in Melbourne, Australia, a second consecutive triumph for Couples’ Americans against Norman’s Internationals. Price’s 50 professional victories include 18 on the PGA Tour, notably two PGA Championships (1992, ’94) and an Open Championship (1994).
Couples, 52, who holds the 1992 Masters title among his 15 PGA Tour victories, said this week during the Senior PGA Championship here that he last spoke with commissioner Tim Finchem in February regarding the captaincy.
Greg Norman said in March that he had held no discussions with the Tour since a de facto exit interview after losing the Presidents Cup in November in his native Australia. Norman confirmed via text message that as of Friday, he still has had no discussion with Finchem or other Tour representatives about returning to lead the Internationals.
A phone message left with the PGA Tour was not immediately returned.
Norman and Ernie Els had lobbied for changes to the Presidents Cup. They wanted more than two captain’s picks and to open Thursday’s morning session with fourballs instead of foursomes, a format in which the Internationals have struggled. It is unclear whether those proposals will be adopted next year.
“There’s change coming, and it’s because of him,” Els said. “I feel Greg should get the benefit of these changes.”
Regardless, Price’s selection seems to be logical. As for Couples? After successful campaigns at Harding Park and then Royal Melbourne, Couples resonates with the U.S. players because of his easygoing demeanor. To a man, they want Couples to return for a third go-round.
Norman had no dispute with the picks.
“If that is the case then two good captains,” Norman said of the selection of Couples and Price via text.
David Abell, Price’s agent, told Golfweek that his client’s selection was news to him and that Price was on vacation with his family until Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.
Couples confirmed that he would play the Memorial this week but was unaware of his selection or a news conference. Couples said he would attend and participate in a clinic because tournament host Jack Nicklaus invited him.