It seems certain now that Ernie Els will take over the captaincy of the International side for the 2019 Presidents Cup.
But is the timing correct?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of The Big Easy – both on the course and off it. He’s been a fantastic ambassador for golf, South Africa and sport in general. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about the ‘Million Dollar’ without reference to him playing flawless golf at the Gary Player CC.
The Presidents Cup desperately needs a change and that, I argue, is not up for debate. The US have consistently been better and no one could forget the mauling handed out to the Internationals at Liberty National.
The blueprint for change is there and plain to see. For a more competitive outing, the scoring system must be overhauled again (simply put, have more players sit out each session like the Ryder Cup) and increase captain’s picks.
That’s a debate for another time, so let’s get back to the timing of Els being appointed as captain.
2019 is going to be played in Australia with the next Internationals venue undecided for 2023 – that I would argue has to be somewhere in South Africa (preferably close to Johannesburg or Cape Town so that we can get as many fans as possible to the venue) and surely that edition would’ve been the ideal time for Els to make his debut as captain or at least his first captaincy at the ‘home’ series?
In theory, to captain on home soil, he would have to captain twice before 2023 to get his chance in South Africa – and that’s at best, with no indication that SA will be next on the international rotation.
A lot can change between 2019 and 2023, so there’s no certainty that he would be the man to lead the team in the future.
If the US steamroll the opposition again next year and then again at home two years after that, it isn’t inconceivable that the whole competition could be scrapped in favour of another more ‘interesting’ (*read profitable for the PGA TOUR) showcase event.
That would deny The Big Easy his chance of assembling his team and finally getting one over on the US.
Here’s hoping 2019 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club goes better than last time out …
Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
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