While the Presidents Cup course at Harding Park is distinctly San Francisco, there are pockets of international flair at every turn. “There aren’t any team competitions like the Ryder Cup where Australians can play in,” says Robert Lusetich of newspaper ‘The Australian,’ “so it’s a very individual sport, and this is an attempt to bring Australians in to a major international team event.”
Three Australians represent the International team, which also includes three South Africans and golfers from Colombia, Argentina, Fiji, Canada, Japan and South Korea.
Journalists from around the world are here to cover the likes of Fiji’s Vijay Singh, South Africa’s Ernie Els and rising Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa. “I think he’s going to be a superstar,” says Hiro Tsuchiya, Tee Up Golf Magazine editor, “he’s already a superstar in Japan, but (soon) I hope in the world.”
The International team’s top ranked player Geoff Ogilvy is from land down under, where this specific biannual event offers a rare opportunity for International team play.
“I think for the Australians… and in fact, I asked Ogilvy this the other day… and he agreed, it’s like representing your country,” says Lusetich, adding, “even though the flag is an invented one, he has the feeling that this is like representing Australia because in golf that’s not possible, it’s an individual sport, so they really enjoy it.”
The other thing many of the International team members may enjoy the most is playing for the Shark, “…of course the Captain is Greg Norman,” says Lusetich, “so for these guys like Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott, they grew up idolizing the Shark and now they get to play for him as the captain, so there is added incentive.”
Thursday’s first round features foursome matches where International pairings include: Mike Weir (Canada)/Tim Clark (South Africa), Adam Scott (Australia)/Ernie Els (South Africa), Vijay Singh (Fiji)/Robert Allenby (Australia), Angel Cabrera (Argentina)/Camilo Villegas (Colombia), Geoff Ogilvy (Australia)/Ryo Ishikawa (Japan), and Retief Goosen (South Africa)/Y.E. Yang (South Korea).