U.S., Internationals optimistic about Prez Cup captains

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – As the news circulated late Tuesday that Steve Stricker and Nick Price would captain the U.S. and International teams at next year’s Presidents Cup, optimism climbed in both camps.

Stricker, who was a vice captain at last year’s match in South Korea, is still very much a contemporary of many players who will likely play in the 2017 matches.

“He has an awesome calm confidence,” said Chris Kirk, who was one of the players assigned to Stricker’s “pod” at last year’s Presidents Cup. “He’s not a rah, rah guy, but most guys aren’t looking for that. He’s great to hang out with and a lot of fun in the team room.”

Kirk compared Stricker’s laid-back style to Jay Haas, who led last year’s U.S. team to a one-point victory.

Price, who will take his third turn as the International captain, was a favorite among players and took some solace last year that the Internationals were able to push the Americans to the last match on Sunday, which hasn’t been the case in the largely lopsided event.

“Muirfield [site of the 2013 matches] and Korea were very close,” said K.J. Choi, one of Price’s vice captains last year. “And he had good relationships with the players. We tried to put two guys who had good relationships in the foursomes and four-ball. We put all 24 guys [from both teams] on a table and mixed them up. Who is a good match, who is strong, who is weak. Nick Price is more open with the vice captains and the players.”