MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ernie Els expects Tiger Woods will be a U.S. playing captain when the two lead their teams at the Presidents Cup next December at Royal Melbourne.
“I think so, the way he’s playing,” Els said Sunday during a media conference during the final round of the World Cup at Metropolitan. “I’m not sure what kind of points system they use for their team, but I think there’s a big chance. The way he’s going, it looks like he’s going to be in contention a lot this year.”
At the media conference, International team captain Els announced that Geoff Ogilvy will be one of his captain’s assistants at the Royal Melbourne tournament from Dec. 9-15, 2019.
Ogilvy announced in May that he would be moving his family from Scottsdale, Arizona back to Australia later this year and would likely have a reduced playing schedule. He owns a home on the 14th hole of the West Course at Royal Melbourne.
“Playing in the Presidents Cup is a highlight of my career,” Ogilvy said. “It is a special week to share the team room and the unique atmosphere with the players of the International team.”
Ogilvy was also an assistant to captain Nick Price for the 2017 Presidents Cup. He also played on three consecutive International teams from 2007-11.
Els, who said there could be as many as 10 or 11 countries represented by players on his team, said he would announce two more captain’s assistants early next year.
“He’s a natural fit to be one of the assistant captains,” Els said of Ogily. “He was my first choice — being a local man from Melbourne, knowing the sandbelt very well. I couldn’t have a better guy and I’m very excited for him to be one of my assistant captains.”
Els said the International team will be able to take advantage of several changes announced since the last Presidents Cup two years, including four captain’s picks in addition to the eight players who earn their way on to the team via a points system; the host team’s choice at whether alternate-shot foursomes or best-ball fourballs are played first on each of the first two days, and the hosts ability to tweak the course to its advantage.
“We’ve got the automatic selection down to eight, we’ve got a home-course advantage and we can start with the format we want … all in all, I feel we have a very different lead up already,” Els said.
It will be the third time the sandbelt course in southeast Melbourne has hosted the tournament. Woods is scheduled to be in Melbourne in early December for a scouting mission at Royal Melbourne.
The International team had its only win in 12 events at Royal Melbourne in 1998, when Els picked up 3 ½ points for the Internationals. The 2003 tournament in South Africa was tied, but the U.S. has won every other Presidents Cup.
Later Sunday, Els was expected to unveil a new logo for the International team at a reception at Royal Melbourne.
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