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Nick Price has plenty of options and no experience
NEW YORK (AP) - The Americans have a 7-1-1 record in the Presidents Cup, and it looks even more lopsided on paper.
Consider the options of the two captains.
If nothing changes in the U.S. standings, Couples will have to choose from among Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, if he can persuade Stricker to take a break from his semi-retirement. And that list doesn’t even include 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. Whenever a guy starts a season with no status and is headed to the Tour Championship, odds are he’s playing pretty good golf.
For Couples, that’s a nice problem to have.
International captain Nick Price has a short list that doesn’t resemble a “Who’s Who” as much as a “Who’s That?”
Move past Tim Clark at No. 11 and his choices include Thongchai Jaidee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. There are three Aussies, just not the names you’re used to seeing _ Marc Leishman, Brett Rumford and Marcus Fraser. There’s George Coetzee and Brendon de Jonge, both from southern Africa. And don’t overlook Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan, who this year became the only player to miss the cut in all four majors.
What binds them is not the contrived International flag under which they hope to play. It’s that none has competed in the Presidents Cup.
“There’s a lot of rookies,” Price said Tuesday morning.
He wasn’t talking about potential picks, but players already on the team _ Branden Grace and Richard Sterne, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Graham DeLaet of Canada, who is holding down the 10th spot going into the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The International team has not looked this outmatched since 1998 at Royal Melbourne, the year one of its players (Carlos Franco of Paraguay) tuned up for the matches by going through Q-school. Another (Joe Ozaki) only made the team because his big brother (Jumbo Ozaki) decided not to play.
They gave the Yanks their biggest spanking in team competition. It was such a rout that when Price won the clinching point, the staff was still clearing breakfast off the tables in the clubhouse.
“If you look back at Melbourne in `98, and the draw in South Africa in `03, our guys played their (tails) off,” Price said. “That’s what we need.”
The Presidents Cup needs a new winner, even if that means new faces. It needs emotion, which has been missing since Chris DiMarco ran screaming into the arms of Jack Nicklaus after making a putt on the final hole in 2005.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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