Ernie Els provided the blueprint and laid the foundation for the International Presidents Cup team.
Trevor Immelman has now added a few bricks.
“Eventually this house is going to be built,” Immelman said recently on Claude Harmon III’s podcast. “Eventually we’re going to win this thing.”
Yet, before, during and after his side’s five-point defeat at the hands of the Americans at Quail Hollow, Immelman couldn’t escape the critics, from television analysts to Twitter followers, telling him that the biennial event, in which the U.S. holds a 12-1-1 all-time record, needs an overhaul.
Change the format.
Reduce the number of matches and points.
Add female players.
“I’ve had to listen to that crap for two years now,” Immelman explained. “People hitting me up on social media all the time telling me that they’ve gotta blow this thing up…”
Immelman’s vein then opened.
“I find it disrespectful on all accounts, to be extremely honest with you,” Immelman added. “I find it disrespectful to us as international golfers that are professional athletes that compete at the highest level week in and week out. We’re not scrubs. Are we as strong as the Americans? Doesn’t quite look like it right now. Have they kicked our butts in this event? They sure have. But there’s been some close calls, and so I find it disrespectful to us.
“I find it equally disrespectful to the women golfers. And here’s why: I don’t think women golfers need men to make them and their competitions relevant. Their competitions are already relevant. I sit down and watch every single shot of the Solheim Cup. Every single shot. It’s one of my favorite times of the year when that event goes on. I watched the U.S. Women’s Open. I watched the Women’s British Open a few weeks ago when South African Ashleigh Buhai came down the stretch, almost coughed it up and won in the playoff at Muirfield, matching Ernie Els’ win at the Open at Muirfield, matching Ernie Els’ win at the Open at Muirfield. Women don’t need men to make them relevant in sport. My family and I were glued to the TV when Serena Williams played her last match at the U.S. Open. She’s one of the greatest athletes to ever walk on the planet.
“So, I find it disrespectful on all accounts when people come with that opinion. I appreciate the fact that they may be trying to think outside the box, but they need to come up with something else.”
Immelman added that he’d like to see a women-only Presidents Cup created, and that he’s talked with his CBS co-worker Dottie Pepper a few times about the idea.
“The International team would probably dominate,” he said.
As for the men, Immelman is more than hopeful that the Presidents Cup won’t be lopsided for long. He doesn’t have to look far for encouragement: The U.S. were 18-3-1 in Ryder Cup before the opposing side expanded to include all of Europe. But even then, Europe won just two of the next eight Cups before going 9-4 since.
“Let’s leave the Presidents Cup and the International team alone, for now,” he said. “And let us compete. And allow youngsters from Thailand and China and Japan and Korea and Australia and South Africa and Canada and all over South America, allow them to grow up with this as their goal, to be able to compete on this level.
“Because we are eventually going to win this event, I promise you.”