7th November 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Presidents Cup – Captain Els announces four captain’s picks
From Presidents Cup
With the 13th Presidents Cup set to begin in just over a month at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club, the final four players for the International Team were determined today as International Team Captain Ernie Els of South Africa announced his captain’s picks.
Els chose Jason Day of Australia, Adam Hadwin of Canada, Sungjae Im of Korea and Joaquin Niemann of Chile.
The Presidents Cup will return to Melbourne, Australia and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time, December 9-15, when the International Team, led by Captain Els, will take on the U.S. Team led by Captain Tiger Woods.
For the first time in Presidents Cup history, each captain makes four captain’s picks instead of two. Captain Els will lead the youngest International Team is Presidents Cup history, with the average age of his 12 players totaling just over 29 years old. This is also the fourth consecutive International Team that has been younger than the previous team.
With these picks, this will also be the most diverse International Team in Presidents Cup history, with players from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, Mexico and South Africa. This is the first time that the International Team will include players from China, Mexico, Chinese Taipei and Chile. Host country Australia has four players set to complete at Royal Melbourne, with Day joining Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith.
The International Team also has 22 previous Presidents Cup appearances amongst its members with six players making their Presidents Cup debuts, which matches the second-most first-timers in team history (7, 2013).
Day will return for his fifth consecutive Presidents Cup and first as a captain’s pick. He owns a 5-11-4 Presidents Cup record but has had plenty of success in match play elsewhere on the PGA TOUR, having compiled a 22-14-0 record and two victories (2014, 2016) in the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Hadwin will make his second consecutive Presidents Cup appearance and first as a captain’s pick. The 31-year-old finished the 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season with five top-10s, but made his best case for a captain’s pick after finishing runner up in his first start of the 2019-20 season at the Safeway Open, which was then followed with a T4 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Im will continue a memorable first year on the PGA TOUR by making his Presidents Cup debut following a rookie season highlighted by 16 top-25 finishes in 35 starts, a trip to the TOUR Championship as the only rookie in the field and earning the Arnold Palmer Award as the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. He continued his strong form into the early stages of the 2019-2020 PGA TOUR Season, collecting top-5 finishes at the Sanderson Farms Championship (2nd) and the ZOZO Championship (T3) to further convince Els that he deserved a captain’s pick.
Niemann will have added reason to celebrate his 21st birthday today (November 7) after being named to his first Presidents Cup team. The former world No. 1-ranked amateur will be the first player from Chile to compete in the Presidents Cup after becoming the country’s first PGA TOUR winner with his victory at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in September.
Niemann is the sixth player from South America to qualify for the Presidents Cup, joining Carlos Franco (Paraguay) Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Emiliano Grillo (Argentina), Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) and Camilo Villegas (Colombia). He earned his PGA TOUR card at 19 years old and enjoyed a successful first full season on the PGA TOUR in 2018-19 that yielded four top-10 finishes in 28 starts. His win at the 2019-20 season opener was a coming-out party for the young talent, who turned a three-stroke final-round lead into a six-stroke victory with a 64 in West Virginia.
Im and Niemann are two of five players in Presidents Cup history to qualify before turning 22, joining Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa (2009, 2011), Jordan Spieth (2013) and Hideki Matsuyama (2013).