HARARE – Presidents Cup International Team captain Nick Price, 56, will be banking on his passion for golf as his side hopes to get one over the US Team at Muirfield this week.
The Internationals are under pressure to win the goblet-shaped bowl which has eluded them since the drawn match in 2003.
Since then the US team has gone on claim the past four biennial meetings including a 19-15 result two years ago in Australia that left many thinking that the Internationals will never get their hands on the Cup ever again.
Price, a golf Hall of Famer, who won three majors in the 90s, believes that the Internationals will come good this time around if they have passion and unity throughout the week as the 10th edition of the competition gets underway Muirfield this Thursday.
“In the end, it’s about the motivation,” the Zimbabwean told the New York Times. “I think when you have team spirit and when you have camaraderie, it will push players to do things that even surprise them sometimes.”
US captain Fred Couples agreed with the Zimbabwean that passion will play a huge part during this year’s Presidents Cup.
“Nick Price is going to be an unbelievable captain,” he said. “I think what Nick will have is a lot of passion for his players, and I think that’s a great thing for any kind of team captain.”
Price faces a tall order. Although he can call upon Ernie Els and three of the past five Masters champions; Adam Scott, the current titleholder, Charl Schwartzel and Ángel Cabrera, his roster lacks the depth of the US lineup, in which all 12 members are among the top 30 in the world golf rankings.
From his 12-member team, Price has seven rookies in the squad which could prove to be the Internationals undoing.
“I’ve always enjoyed being an underdog going in,” said Price. “The favourites have more pressure on them, no doubt about it.
“I’m trying to figure out how we as the International Presidents Cup team can get that same buzz that the Europeans get on Sunday at the Ryder Cup.
Although the advantage would appear to be with the US team, competitions such as the Presidents Cup sometimes go against conventional wisdom considering the amount of passion and pressure they generate.
The four days of intense competition opens on Thursday with four-ball matches and runs through Sunday’s singles battles, which always generate great drama.
Considering how much they have struggled in the Ryder Cup, it is hard to figure out how the US team has dominated the Internationals so convincingly in the last nine editions of the Presidents Cup.
US: Fred Couples (captain), Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth.
International: Nick Price (captain, Zimbabwe), Adam Scott (Australia), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Jason Day (Australia), Ernie Els (South Africa), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Branden Grace (South Africa), Graham DeLaet (Canada), Richard Sterne (South Africa), Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Marc Leishman (Australia) and Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe).