Presidents Cup: Worldwide captain Trevor Immelman aiming to stun Workforce USA


Performed 13, received one, tied one, misplaced 11: the Presidents Cup kind e book makes for grim studying for the Worldwide Workforce forward of the 14th version of the occasion on Thursday.

And if the duty of stopping a ninth straight US victory wasn’t daunting sufficient, first-time captain Trevor Immelman should make historical past by overturning American residence benefit with a workforce made up predominantly of match rookies.

Three years in the past, the 2008 Masters champion was amongst Ernie Els’ assistant captains because the Worldwide Workforce noticed a lead agonizingly slip away on the final day in Melbourne, Australia, the positioning of their sole victory in 1998.

Having taken the reins from his South African compatriot shortly after, Immelman has since spent numerous hours strategizing the way to rewrite the standard script at Quail Hole Membership in Charlotte this week.

“We’re not blind, we all know precisely what the document is however, in a means, it motivates us,” Immelman advised CNN’s Don Riddell.

“In 2019, we felt like we took an enormous step ahead from a workforce side, from a franchise side, so to talk.

“We slowly however certainly began making an attempt to construct this home and make it stable and on a agency basis as a result of we’re trying not simply to this week, however cups down the road as effectively.”

Delayed by a yr because of the pandemic, the biennial cup sees the 2 12-man groups face off throughout 18 paired workforce matches earlier than 12 singles match-ups shut the match on Sunday. Every match is value one level, with the primary workforce to achieve 15.5 factors topped champions.

Six members of every roster are full of computerized qualifiers, leaving respective captains Immelman and Davis Love III to hand-pick the remaining half. The Worldwide participant pool extends to anybody outdoors the USA and Europe, with this yr’s lineup spanning South Korea (4), Canada (2), Australia (2), South Africa, Japan, Colombia, and Chile.

Immelman and opposing captain Davis Love III speak during a press conference prior to the tournament.

A taking part in member of the 2005 and 2007 squads, Immelman believed earlier teams had typically struggled for cohesion earlier than Els’ management. With out a brand or workforce colours till 2019, Els’ adoption of the defend emblem and black and gold livery constructed in the direction of the bigger purpose of giving the workforce an identification.

“He [Els] was the proper chief on the excellent time with sufficient pull and sway to have the ability to make some adjustments and set us off on this course,” Immelman mentioned.

“It’s very troublesome while you’re pulling gamers from seven, eight, 9 totally different nations they usually come right here representing their nation reasonably than representing this one workforce. Now that we now have the defend, these gamers come right here and that’s what we play for.”

For Immelman, such a shift means the Worldwide workforce can now keep away from falling into the “lure” of selecting pairings for the occasions based mostly on shared nationality versus tactical match for course and opponents.

“One of many issues that we’ve modified over the previous couple of years is breaking down these cultural limitations in order that any participant can play with every other participant on the workforce,” he mentioned.

“We will see that we’re massive underdogs on paper and so we should be very sensible with what we do with our pairings. There’s a whole lot of issues that go into these selections to ensure that we will attempt to discover each little edge that’s on the market to place ourselves and our gamers in one of the best place attainable to attempt to shock the world on the finish of the week.”

 Immelman and members of the International Team during a practice round at Quail Hollow.

Given the make-up of the 2 groups, it’s troublesome to argue in opposition to the underdog label. Eight members of the Worldwide Workforce will make their Presidents Cup debut in Charlotte, whereas Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama symbolize the one main champions within the group following Masters victories in 2013 and 2021 respectively.

Japan’s Matsuyama is the best ranked participant on the workforce at World No.17. Solely two gamers on the US workforce are ranked decrease, with 5 of the world’s high 10 among the many star-studded ensemble, and World No.1 Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas boasting seven main titles between them.

Scheffler and Morikawa are among the many six American first-time gamers, but nonetheless are available in with a mixed 9 PGA Tour wins. Against this on the Worldwide aspect, fellow cup debutants Taylor Pendrith of Canada and Mito Pereira are nonetheless chasing their first Tour titles.

Reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler headlines a star-studded US Team.

So how do you go about making ready such rookies for the baptism of fireside that could be a Presidents Cup on away floor? You begin, Immelman says, “simply by loving them.”

“You set your arms round them, you make them know that you just love them and that you just’re there for them,” the South African defined.

“Am I going to have the ability to say one thing to them or give them a magic capsule that may take away their nerves and nervousness and pleasure on the primary tee? No likelihood, that’s not on the market. … (However) these guys have logged 1000’s and 1000’s of hours since they began this sport, honing their expertise, getting themselves to elite degree on the PGA Tour. They’ve what it takes. They know precisely the way to play this sport and what must occur. So you actually simply inform them to belief themselves, belief the method, belief the work you’ve put in.”

For Immelman, nevertheless, an important recommendation to his gamers is solely to benefit from the expertise, as a result of their captain can be relishing each second.

After being sidelined by a number of accidents throughout his taking part in profession, the 42-year-old has discovered a “second profession” in broadcasting, and he’s slated to turn into CBS Sport’s lead golf analyst subsequent yr. Fourteen years on from pipping Tiger Woods to Masters glory, Immelman nonetheless pinches himself on the victory, his love for the sport as sturdy as ever.

Immelman celebrates winning the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in April 2008.

And regardless of the consequence come Sunday, that romance will proceed, with Immelman leaving Charlotte having adopted within the footsteps of South African {golfing} royalty Els and Gary Participant in captaining Workforce Worldwide.

“It has been a loopy journey – at occasions I can’t consider how lucky I’ve been,” Immelman mirrored. “I really feel humbled. You check out the checklist of captains which have come earlier than me for the worldwide workforce, all legends of the sport, all heroes of mine, people who I’ve seemed as much as all through my life.

“For those who can’t get pleasure from this, I’m undecided you’ll be able to get pleasure from something … the golf course and the build-up is like one thing I’ve by no means seen earlier than in my life. It’s going to be electrical on the market. We can’t wait to be part of it.”

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