Pressure on Internationals to reverse Presidents Cup form

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

REUTERS - Tiger Woods likes it just the way it is but, in the eyes of many, the Internationals simply have to start beating the United States at the Presidents Cup to give the event's future a more solid footing after this week.

The pressure will certainly be on the Internationals at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio where they will be striving to improve a dismal record in the biennial team competition of just one win against the U.S. in nine attempts.

"I would envisage the Presidents Cup becoming more and more exciting and more closely contested ... but we are, what, 1-7-1 out of nine, so that's got to change," said International captain Nick Price, a veteran of five Cups as a player.

Zimbabwean Price felt that the Americans had one obvious advantage, apart from playing on home soil this week, in that many of their top players also competed in last year's Ryder Cup against Europe.

"Because of that, (U.S. captain) Fred (Couples) is going to have the edge because he has some of the pairings that played very well together (at the Ryder Cup)," Price told reporters.

"I'm going to have to come up with a whole lot of new pairings so, from that point of view, it's difficult.

"But I keep saying this: 18-hole match play is anybody's game. The American team is a lot stronger on paper than our team is but the camaraderie and the willpower and the spirit of a team can overcome a lot of things."

Woods will be competing in his eighth Presidents Cup, having shared in team victory on five previous occasions, but he rejects suggestions that it is vitally important for the Internationals to triumph to safeguard the event's future.

"It's not (important), not to us," the American world number one said of the competition which pits a 12-man team from the U.S. against a line-up of international players from outside Europe.

"We're playing against them. We like the way it's gone, and we'd like to keep it going that way."

Asked whether he was at all concerned about the future status of the Presidents Cup if it remained so one-sided, Woods replied with a smile: "We like it just the way it's at."

Three of the first four Presidents Cups were staged on American soil and that fact, combined with the 'Ryder Cup effect' from preceding years, gave U.S. teams a significant boost, according to Couples.

"We have dominated because I think when it started at the beginning (in 1994), we played a lot of years in the United States and we played against unbelievable teams," said Couples.

"I feel like we also have an advantage because we play in the Ryder Cup and (the Internationals) they do this every couple years. So my pairings are very simple."

BURNING DESIRE

Masters champion Adam Scott, the world number two, has never been on a triumphant Internationals team despite playing in the Presidents Cup on five occasions, and he has a burning desire to see that change when the 10th edition gets underway on Thursday.

"It's really important for the Internationals to win and just for myself, for my own satisfaction of being on a winning team, which I haven't done in my career," said Australian Scott.

"I really want to experience that elation with a bunch of other guys around me that have put in all that effort for the week. I'm looking forward to that opportunity."

The U.S. have dominated the Presidents Cup by winning seven times in nine editions, most recently with a 19-15 victory at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia two years ago.

The only success for the Internationals came in 1998 when the event was first staged in Melbourne. In 2003, the two teams battled to a 17-17 draw in South Africa.

"You know, I've always enjoyed being an underdog going in," said former world number one Price, who played for the Internationals in both 1998 and 2003. "I think the favourites have more pressure on them, no doubt about it.

"But I go back to this point of the morale and the camaraderie and momentum in a team. When you have that, the sky's the limit. It's all about momentum.

"When we won in Australia, it was a huge momentum change in the second day, and we just parlayed that into the weekend. That's basically what won it for us down there."

U.S. team: 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 team: 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), Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe), Marc Leishman (Australia). (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders

Abu Dhabi: Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir elects to bat in the season-opener of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »