• Captain Woods closer to automatic pick

    Tiger Woods
    Woods is eyeing a playing role

    2019 US Presidents Cup Captain Tiger Woods secured his 81st career PGA TOUR title with a one-shot victory at the Masters Tournament, his first since 2008, and moved to No 9 in the US Team standings.

    Woods is looking to become the second-ever playing captain and first since Hale Irwin in 1994.

    Woods, an eight-time Presidents Cup participant, owns an overall Presidents Cup record of 24-15-1, and has the second-most match victories in Presidents Cup history behind Phil Mickelson (26).
    If Woods goes on to earn a spot on the 2019 team, it would mark his first competitive performance in a Presidents Cup since 2013, where he secured the winning point at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio.
    Woods was one of six US players to finish T5 or better at Augusta National, with each player currently no lower than 12th in the standings. Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele all finished T2, while Webb Simpson and Tony Finau finished T5.
    Johnson reclaimed the top spot in the standings from Justin Thomas (T12), and Koepka jumped two spots to No 4.
    Elsewhere in the top 10 at the Masters, Rickie Fowler and first-time hopeful Patrick Cantlay both finished T9 and sit at Nos 7 and 13 respectively in the standings.
    Marc Leishman still leads the International Team standings and is one of four Australians inside the top 10.
    Jason Day moved two spots in the standings to No 6 and improved his position as one of the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Day’s T5 at Augusta National came after he held a share of the 36-hole lead with four others, including fellow Aussie Adam Scott, who jumped three spots to No 10 with an eventual T18 finish.
    Cameron Smith remains inside the top 10 at No 4.
    Another bright spot for the International Team came from South African Justin Harding, who finished a respectable T12 after birdieing the 72nd hole to remain at No 7 in the standings. At 33, Harding is in search of his first Presidents Cup appearance.
    But the Presidents Cup hopeful who has made the most noise of late is Canada’s Corey Conners, who became the first player since 2010 to win on the PGA TOUR after Monday qualifying when he captured the Valero Texas Open for his maiden PGA TOUR title.
    The win vaulted Conners from No 39 to No 10 in the International Team standings as the former US Amateur runner-up looks to join captain’s assistant Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet and Adam Hadwin as Canadians to compete in the Presidents Cup.
    Captain Els will have the chance to see Conners compete up close this week when he is paired with himself and Hadwin for the first two rounds of the RBC Heritage.
    The top 15 players in the International and US Presidents Cup Team Standings as of 15 April 2019 are listed below.
    INTERNATIONAL
    Rank   Player                      Country                   Points
    1.         Marc Leishman             Australia                       136.30
    2.         Louis Oosthuizen          South Africa                  130.43
    3.         Hideki Matsuyama         Japan                            111.09
    4.         Cameron Smith             Australia                       105.58
    5.         Haotong Li                   China                           104.96
    6.         Jason Day                      Australia                       94.90
    7.         Justin Harding               South Africa                  94.79
    8.         Abraham Ancer             Mexico                         90.49
    9.         Si Woo Kim                 Korea                           78.84
    10.        Adam Scott                   Australia                       77.87
    11.       Corey Conners             Canada                         75.22
    12.       Sungjae Im                    Korea                           72.39
    13.       Jazz Janewattananond    Thailand                       71.32
    14.        Branden Grace              South Africa                  68.38
    15.       Shugo Imahira               Japan                            66.18
    UNITED STATES
    Rank   Player                                Points
    1.         Dustin Johnson                         5,611
    2.         Justin Thomas                           5,359
    3.         Xander Schauffele                     5,055
    4.         Brooks Koepka                         4,629
    5.         Bryson DeChambeau                4,471
    6.         Matt Kuchar                             4,339
    7.         Rickie Fowler                           3,940
    8.         Tony Finau                               3,664
    9.         Tiger Woods                            3,638
    10.        Phil Mickelson                          3,515
    11.       Gary Woodland                         3,511
    12.        Webb Simpson                         3,223
    13.       Patrick Cantlay                          3,206
    14.       Charles Howell III                     3,106
    15.       Bubba Watson                          3,013
    The Presidents Cup returns to Melbourne, Australia and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time from 9-15 December when the International Team, led by Captain Ernie Els, will take on the US Team, led by Captain Woods.

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