South African Ernie Els will be captain of the International team for next year’s Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, a source told Reuters yesterday.
The official announcement is expected to come today at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando at which time Tiger Woods will be named US captain, according to Golf.com. Els, a four-time major winner, takes over from Nick Price who has guided the Internationals at the last three Presidents Cups, including last year when the United States romped to a 19-11 victory on home soil at Liberty National in New Jersey.
The US has dominated the biennial competition that pits the top American golfers against the world’s best outside of Europe with a 10-1-1 record.
Els and Woods featured prominently in the event’s only draw when they faced each other in a sudden death playoff in 2003 in South Africa to decide the trophy only to have it declared a tie when fading light forced an end to play after three extra holes.
Woods, who was an assistant captain last year when sidelined with back problems and will fill a similar position this year when the US take on Europe in the Ryder Cup in France, could find himself filling the role of playing captain in Australia.
After years of battling back issues, Woods looked close to his old dominant self on Sunday when he finished runner-up to Englishman Paul Casey at the Valspar Championship.
Woods’ solid performance was further proof that the 14-time major winner is a force again after last April’s spinal fusion surgery on his lower back, coming tantalisingly close to ending a five-year title drought.
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