The international team has won just once in 13 Presidents Cup matches and is expected to be the weakest again when the game begins later this month at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
International team captain Trevor Immelman announced his six captain picks on Tuesday: South Korea’s KH Lee and Si Woo Kim, Canada’s Taylor Pendrit, Australia’s Cameron Davis, South Africa’s Christian Bezuidenhout and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz.
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, South Korea’s Sungjae Im and Tom Kim, Canada’s Corey Connors, Australia’s Adam Scott and Chile’s Mito Pereira were automatic qualifiers.
The international team includes eight first-timers and four players (Scott, Matsuyama, Im and Si Woo Kim) with previous Presidents Cup experience.
“We really understand the mountain in front of us: it’s probably the best American team ever assembled, based on their success and what their world ranking is on paper,” Immelman said. You have a dream. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of — getting a chance to play against the best in their own country, and that’s what we get here in two weeks.
Imelman’s task was made more difficult by the fact that two of the international team’s automatic qualifiers, Australia’s Cameron Smith and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, had joined the LIV golf circuit and were ineligible to play. Presidents Cup veterans Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Anser have already defected to the new league.
“I don’t really think I should play the underdog,” Immelman said. “I think everybody knows that.” Everyone sees it as day. Our team has had a lot of adversity thrown at us in the last year or so. But adversity makes you stronger.”
Team USA captain Davis Love III will announce his six captain picks Wednesday for the Sept. 22-25 tournament. The six automatic qualifiers were Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Scotty Scheffler, Xander Schaufel and Tony Finau.
Jordan Spieth, Colin Morikawa, Max Homa, Billy Horschel and rookie Cameron Young are expected to be added to the team at Love. Will Zalatoris was lined up for the spot but was unable to play due to a back injury. Veteran Kevin Kisner, one of the best match-play competitors in the world, is a strong contender for the final spot.
Team USA has won eight straight and nine of the last 10 Presidents Cups (the teams met in 2003). The international team’s only win in 13 matches was in Melbourne, Australia in 1998. Under the leadership of captain Tiger Woods, the American team won the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia 16-14.