AKRON, Ohio — Addition by subtraction is not a new concept, but it is new when it comes to the upcoming Presidents Cup.
Here’s how USA captain Davis Love III assesses the outlook for the 14th edition of the biennial matches scheduled for September 22-25 at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. Players who may have been on your team or Trevor Immelman’s international team are now ineligible because they chose to compete in the LIV Golf series and, by their actions, indicated their lack of interest in the matches.
“Now we’re really, really separating the guys who are passionate about [the Presidents Cup], and I think it will probably help both teams because we know everyone who really cares and is willing to do it,” Love said Wednesday at Firestone Country Club. “I think that these guys who want to play, it will not be different in the Presidents Cup; they will want to win. Watched Steve Stricker’s team go on a hot streak in New York [in 2017], saw Tiger Woods’ team make a huge comeback in Australia. They want to do that. They want to be a part of it.”
Love currently hasn’t lost any of the top 12 players on the US Presidents Cup points list, but number 13 is Talor Gooch, who was in the top 12 when he entered the first LIV event. in London before the US Open. . Members of the last US Ryder Cup team to win record last fall at Whistling Straits but are ineligible for the Presidents Cup include Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, although all three were very down in the points standings.
On the international side, losses have been more substantial. Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Abraham Ancer were all likely to make the 12-man roster before their defection to the LIV series.
Love, 55, who is making his Bridgestone Senior Players debut this week on Firestone’s south course, said he talked a lot with Johnson before the two-time major winner made the jump to the tour backed by Saudi Arabia directed by Greg Norman. Johnson went 5-0 last fall to lead the American team to a resounding 9 1/2-point drubbing of Europe.
“I asked Dustin if he understood the decision he was making, that he was an American golf hero after the Ryder Cup, and if he was willing to give all of that up, and he said he understood,” Love said. “Dustin was probably the most honest about the whole thing, and I respect that. You know, he just wants to ride off into the sunset.”
Love has been in communication with prospective Team USA members for much of the year, but admitted he had to omit the LIV Golf contingent, which also includes Patrick Reed, who had been a firebrand on previous US teams. the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup.
“We have guys that are on the list that are not really on the list… [but] It will fix itself,” he said. “We are going to bring 12 great players to Charlotte. It’s going to be a very young team, and I’m excited about it. They’re excited. You look at guys like Max Homa, that level of excitement is below getting ready for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and everything else that’s going on. They are excited about it. Scottie Scheffler tried it out at Whistling Straits and is raving about it. Hopefully we’ll get a couple more new guys that haven’t played and that excitement will get us through it.”
Stricker, captain of last year’s US Ryder Cup team, doesn’t expect the Presidents Cup to be negatively affected because the level of talent in golf is considerable.
“There are so many good players on the American side and around the world, on the European side, on the international side, that the difference between some of these players is so small that some of these players that have gone there you will miss and some of they won’t,” said Stricker, the defending champion at Firestone. “I think we will be good in both team events. There are enough great players who will make a great [Presidents Cup].”
Justin Leonard, who represented the US in five Presidents Cup matches and three Ryder Cups, agrees. Leonard, on a break from his broadcast duties with NBC, makes his PGA Tour Champions debut this week.
“It’s going to be a great event,” Leonard said of the Presidents Cup, where he will work for NBC and the Golf Channel. “There are some great young players. And I think this just gives those players, especially on the international side, some chance to step up, like the young players did in Melbourne. [in 2019]. I thought it was great how the international team played. I am a friend and a great admirer of Trevor, as I am of Davis. I want, from the perspective of television and a fan of the game, a very close competition. After what we saw in the Ryder Cup, that may be a little more difficult. But you always have to be aware of the underdogs in international team competitions.”
Love dismissed the idea that the tour, and the Presidents Cup, would be diminished in any way by the loss of certain players.
“The tour went from Jack and Arnold. Believe it or not, he survived,” said the 21-time tour winner. “We never thought it would survive without Jack and Arnie. It happened from Greg Norman and Fred Couples, you know? It’s going to happen from Tiger Woods… that generation. The tour will survive and have a new generation.
“So I think the Presidents Cup is going to be good.”