American assistant captains Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson have revealed their leading man, Tiger Woods, will play three matches of the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Couples – who successfully led the United States to victory in 2009, 2011 and 2013 – was first to hint at their playing captain’s intentions for the 13th edition of the biennial matches, which will get underway tomorrow at 9:30am (AEDT).
“Tiger's been incredible. The three of us (assistant captains) have been on text threads anywhere from six in the morning until three in the morning, because he's a man who doesn't sleep much,” Couples said.
“So he is a heck of a captain – which you would think – and he's a great player to be on your team. So we have both. It's fun to see him in action … I think he will play three times.”
Stricker, captain of the victorious US side at Liberty National in 2017, wasted no time in adding: “I know he will play three days.
"He is a heck of a captain – which you would think – and he's a great player to be on your team. So we have both. It's fun to see him in action … I think he will play three times.” – Fred Couples
“He's so engaged with all the players and all of us as captain. Guys look up to him … He's serving that mentorship role now it almost seems like – and he's really done a lot of homework and he knows everything about everybody and what's going on.”
International Team captain Ernie Els is just as prepared as his counterpart, according to his assistants Geoff Ogilvy, Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir.
The South African, who owns the course record (60) at the Composite Course, has employed data company 15th Club to gather advanced statistics about his players in order to form the best possible pairings.
“It's the way of the world now. I think with so much information we have, you'd be silly not to access that I think. There's been good results from other guys, other teams, and others doing it this way,” Ogilvy said.
“As far as the team, everyone's bought in completely. And that's more important than anything else I think; that everybody believes that they are with the right guy and everybody's out in the right groups and the captain's got a plan.”
Added Immelman: “It's been fantastic to see the commitment with which Ernie has come in preparation for this event.
“In the last couple of years, he's really put a lot of time and effort into it, leaving no stone unturned, so to speak.
“Ernie's been one of my sporting idols my whole life. So for me, I just really hope that our players are able to respond appropriately and make him proud.”