Tiger Woods has named himself one of his four captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup, and the USA team are the heavy favorites against the Internationals for next month’s competition in Australia at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Eight players automatically qualified for the team, but Woods being the captain possesses the privilege of nominating four others to the squad. And for the first time since Arnold Palmer in 1963, a captain will play in the Presidents Cup.
Woods selected Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, and Patrick Reed before announcing himself.
As captain, I’m going to choose Tiger Woods as the last player on the team. He’s made what, nine cups? He’s played in Australia twice in the Presidents Cup,” Woods spoke in the third person.
“This will be his third appearance there as a player,” Woods continued. “I find it interesting I’m talking in the third person. Just having fun with it.”
The Presidents Cup will be played December 12-15.
The FanDuel sportsbook has the USA team heavily favored over the Internationals. Captain Ernie Els rounded out his underdog team by selecting Jason Day, Im Sung-jae, Adam Hadwin, and Joaquin Neimann.
The Internationals are at +240, the USA -240. A $100 bet respectively nets $240 and $41.67 on those odds. The unlikely tie is at +1200.
The Presidents Cup was first held in 1994, designed as a way to give non-European members a premiere professional international competition. But it’s been a lopsided affair, with Team USA winning 10 of the 12 matches. The International Team has won just once, and tied another.
The lone International victory came back in 1998. But it came at the very same course the 2019 Presidents Cup will be played: Royal Melbourne.
International: Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Pan Cheng-tsung, Cameron Smith, Jason Day, Im Sung-jae, Adam Hadwin, and Joaquin Neimann
USA: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed, and Tiger Woods
Koepka is the No. 1 ranked player in the world. The lowest-ranked player on the US team is Kuchar at No. 22. Conversely, the top-ranked player on the International roster is No. 17 Scott. The lowest is No. 62 ,Cheng-tsung.
Koepka remains questionable for Woods’s team. The best player on the planet is rehabbing a left knee injury.
He’s rehabbing, trying to get better, trying to get ready to play,” Woods said. “Let him focus on that. Put all his energy into that. When he starts playing golf, he’ll let me know and I told him to keep me abreast of what’s happening.”
The leading potential replacement is Rickie Fowler, who was crossed over by Woods.
“That was a tough phone call,” Woods explained. “Rickie’s a good friend of mine and I’ve known him for a long time. Kept it short and quick. No reason to make it a lengthy conversation.”
The next call, however, could be to inform Fowler he’s needed.