(Reuters) – International team captain Nick Price is hopeful his “hodgepodge” team of players from around the world can gel this week and inflict a rare defeat on the United States in the Presidents Cup.
A one-sided history has kept the biennial event from gaining the status the PGA Tour hoped for when it created the Ryder Cup-copycat competition in 1994.
It has been largely a history of futility for the International team, with just one victory and one tie in 11 editions of the event, including six defeats in six attempts on U.S. soil.
“It’s difficult for us, a team of eight nations this year, to get the camaraderie and get the team spirit,” Price said on Tuesday at Liberty National.
This will be Price’s third time at the helm, and he said the eight players returning from the close defeat in South Korea two years ago had developed a strong bond which should stand them in good stead.
“What happened in South Korea really was a shot in the arm for guy like Adam Scott, Louis (Oosthuizen) and Jason (Day), who have never been on a winning team,” Price said.
“The team room on that Sunday night, it was a very humbling experience for me because the guys emotionally spilled their guts out to everyone how important it was to them and how much they enjoyed it.
“Even though we are a hodgepodge of a team from all around the world, we are all competitors and we like to compete and don’t like to get beaten. That’s the bottom line.
“This team is made up of a lot of golf young guys who probably have another four or five Presidents Cups in them. I think they have realized how important this event is now, and they want to take it to the next level.”
The 12-man International team comprises players from the rest of the world, excluding Europe. This year’s team features three Australians (Day, Scott, Marc Leishman), three South Africans (Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace) and one player each from Japan (Hideki Matsuyama), South Korea (Kim Si-woo), India (Anirban Lahiri), Canada (Adam Hadwin), Venezuela (Jhonattan Vegas) and Argentina (Emiliano Grillo).
All except Kim, Hadwin, Vegas and Grillo were on the team that lost by one point to the Americans two years ago.
And even though the Internationals are technically playing an away game, Price is hoping the melting pot that is New York City will come out to support the visitors.
“Of all the cities you want to play in for the Internationals, this is the best one because it’s the most cosmopolitan city in America and made of so many ethnicities,” he said.
“We are hoping to get a lot of support out there. New York fans are as vocal as can be, so there’s going to be a lot of noise out there, which is great.
“That all adds to the atmosphere. Our guys are ready for it.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)