The ninth edition of the Presidents Cup starts Thursday at Royal Melbourne. Here's a look at the U.S. and International rosters, with players' previous PC history and match records.
United States team
Matt Kuchar (rookie)
Skinny: A rookie in name only, having played in last year’s Ryder Cup (1-1-2) and emerging as the most consistent American over the last two seasons.
Steve Stricker (fourth, 9-6-0)
Skinny: Not to overstate this, but America’s Presidents Cup hopes likely rest on Stricker’s ailing neck. In ’09 he and Tiger Woods led the U.S. side with a perfect team record. Captain Fred Couples will need something similar to that at Royal Melbourne to end America’s Southern Hemisphere drought.
Dustin Johnson (rookie)
Skinny: DJ is explosive and a natural fit to partner with Phil Mickelson, but he’s been erratic this fall and struggled in his first professional team event, going 1-3-0 last year at Celtic Manor.
Webb Simpson (rookie)
Skinny: He may not be the PGA Tour’s player of the year, but he was clearly low American in 2011. The steady performer should have a solid week in Australia.
Nick Watney (rookie)
Skinny: Seems to be rounding into form just in time for the matches following solid finishes at the Australian Open (T-4) and the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (runner-up).
Phil Mickelson (ninth, 15-13-10)
Skinny: An international team competition enigma for much of his career, Phil 2.0 has taken on the role of mentor to younger players in recent years and his record has improved.
Bubba Watson (rookie)
Skinny: Overwhelmed last year in his first Ryder Cup, but Bubba may be due for a big week. Still, the pressure is on Couples to find him a workable partner.
David Toms (fourth, 6-7-1)
Skinny: Veteran’s form has faded since his torrid summer run, but Royal Melbourne is a good fit for his fairways-and-greens game.
Hunter Mahan (third, 4-4-1)
Skinny: Mahan’s withdrawal from the Australian Open is Couples’ second-biggest concern, after Stricker, heading into the matches, but the “old soul” is a natural fit to be paired with Toms or Jim Furyk.
Jim Furyk (seventh, 15-10-3)
Skinny: Steady utility man who sports one of the U.S. side’s best Presidents Cup records and gives Couples plenty of pairing options.
Tiger Woods (seventh, 18-11-1)
Skinny: The “comeback” was cut short on Saturday at the Australian Open but he showed the kind of spark in Sydney that Couples had hoped for when he selected him for the team.
Bill Haas (rookie)
Skinny: The only true rookie on the U.S. side has plenty of support in Melbourne, with father Jay an assistant captain and longtime swing coach Billy Harmon on the bag.
Fred Couples, captain
Skinny: Questioned for his captain’s picks and his handling of the Keegan Bradley situation, Couples’ second turn as the U.S. captain will likely be his hardest.
Jason Day (rookie)
Skinny: The top-ranked player on the International side is peaking at the right time (T-4 at Australian Open) and likely a lock to play with Adam Scott in Greg Norman’s uber pairing.
Adam Scott (fifth, 8-10-2)
Skinny: If he can keep caddie Steve Williams quiet the Australian may emerge from this week’s matches as the heir to Ernie Els’ crown as the team’s point man.
Charl Schwartzel (rookie)
Skinny: Quietly consistent and largely overlooked, the Masters champion may be Norman’s wild card and is a natural fit to play with his mentor Els.
K.J. Choi (third, 3-6-0)
Skinny: The “Tank” has been slowed by injuries and pedestrian play the last few weeks and has struggled to find a suitable partner in his previous matches.
Kyung-tae Kim (rookie)
Skinny: South Korean will likely play with Choi and has little experience on the international stage. How he handles the atmosphere will be the key to Kim’s week.
Retief Goosen (sixth, 11-10-3)
Skinny: Goose managed to earn just a half-point in ’09 at Harding Park and his recent form, no top 10s since June, suggests he may struggle again.
Geoff Ogilvy (third, 4-5-0)
Skinny: This is a big one for Ogilvy, a Victoria Institute of Sport product who cut his teeth on the sand-belt courses and appears to have finally emerged from a series of injuries that slowed him in ’11.
Ernie Els (seventh, 16-12-2)
Skinny: The captain in waiting is the only member of this year’s team who played in the ’98 matches at Royal Melbourne, the site of the International side’s lone victory. The Big Easy lost just a single match in ’98.
Y.E. Yang (second, 2-2-1)
Skinny: Decent record in his first team turn and his unflappable demeanor, as well as his sneaky-good putting, makes him a match-play natural. Don’t be surprised to see him play Woods.
Ryo Ishikawa (second, 3-2-0)
Skinny: The 20-year-old was solid in his debut at Harding Park, clipping Kenny Perry, 2 and 1, in singles play and he teamed well with Yang.
Aaron Baddeley (rookie)
Skinny: He watched nearly all of the ’98 matches from behind the ropes at his beloved Royal Melbourne and delivered under pressure at The Tour Championship to land one of Norman’s captain’s picks.
Robert Allenby (sixth, 8-13-3)
Skinny: Why Allenby, who Couples correctly pointed out hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in a decade? Because he owns Royal Melbourne, where he won the ’92 Johnnie Walker Classic and ’93 Players Championship and was a runner-up as an amateur at the ’91 Australian Open.
Greg Norman, captain
Skinny: The Shark probably didn’t do himself any favors with his pointed assessment of Woods’ game recently and the pressure to win on home turf will be intense, but if he’s successful it will be a fitting swan song for one of Australia’s finest.
Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel beginning Monday at 6PM. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Wednesday 9PM-2AM, Thursday 7:30PM-2AM, Friday 3PM-2AM and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)
Tags: Presidents Cup
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