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Price still lobbying for Presidents Cup format change

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AKRON, Ohio – Nick Price hopes that the upcoming Presidents Cup goes better for the International squad than did his debut as captain at Muirfield Village in 2013, but the Zimbabwean still contends that a format change is necessary to make the biennial event more competitive.

The Americans boast a 9-1-1 record since the tournament’s inception in 1994, and the International team will be an underdog later this year despite serving as the “home team” as the venue shifts to South Korea for the first time.

Under the current format, all 12 players on each side compete in every session on Thursday, Friday and Sunday while only two players per team can sit during Saturday’s matches, creating 32 possible points. Price has lobbied for years that the format should more closely mirror the Ryder Cup, which has only 28 available points and allows captains to sit more players to protect weaker spots in the lineup.

“[U.S. captain] Jay [Haas] says winning never gets old. Losing certainly does,” Price said Tuesday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. “I think all of us on the team feel that a points change would really make it more exciting and more competitive. … I think win, lose or draw, we all want to see it come down to the final match on Sunday instead of being done with eight matches left on the golf course on Sunday. That’s a big deal.”

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Depth has always been an issue for the International team, and this year’s squad should prove no exception. Based on the current team standings, all 10 automatic qualifiers for the U.S. are ranked inside the top 25 in the world, with Chris Kirk the lowest-ranked player at No. 22. Of the 10 players projected to make the International team, six are currently ranked below Kirk, from Branden Grace at No. 28 to John Senden at No. 54.

Price will again address the issue with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem during their meeting on Wednesday at Firestone, but he is not optimistic that any changes will be made that might affect this year’s competition.

“Part of the rules in the Presidents Cup which differ from the Ryder Cup is that the captains have to make changes, and I said to Tim Finchem, I said, ‘That’s never going to work because we’re standing on two opposite sides,’” Price said. “It needs to be addressed, for the long-term future of it anyway, it needs to be addressed by people who are a little more independent of it and say, ‘OK, this is maybe the way we should go.’ So hopefully, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”