In form and desperate to win.
Adam Scott has qualified third for the Internationals team to contest the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne but his experience and status within the game makes him the man a star-studded American team fear most.
The top eight qualifiers for both the Internationals and USA were finalised following the penultimate tournament of the PGA TOUR season with a total of seven Presidents Cup debutants to feature from December 12 in Melbourne.
Xander Schauffele, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay will make their Presidents Cup debuts for America while the new faces in the Internationals team includes Queensland’s Cameron Smith along with Haotong Li (China), Australian Open champion Abraham Ancer (Mexico) and PGA TOUR winner CT Pan (Chinese Taipei).
The final 12-man teams will be determined following the captain’s picks by Ernie Els and Tiger Woods respectively in the first week of November with Jason Day tipped to get the nod from Els and take the Australian contingent on home soil to four.
The most experienced Presidents Cup player of the 16 to have qualified, Scott is the only survivor of the Internationals team that contested the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and is viewed by the American team as the spiritual leader of their opposition.
Veteran Matt Kuchar was chaperoned by Scott on his first visit to Australia almost 20 years ago and has no doubt he will be the man other Internationals players look to for inspiration.
“We definitely see Adam Scott as one of the all-time greats of the game and know that if you’re on that team you’re looking up to Adam Scott,” Kuchar said following his final round at the BMW Championship.
“The Presidents Cup probably hasn’t gone the way he would have liked but to be back on home soil for him means a lot.
“Four years ago in Korea it went down to the last match on the last day so in team competition there’s the chance to be really competitive and swing back the other way and the Americans know that the only time they’ve ever lost a Presidents Cup is in Australia.”
A 5-under par round of 67 at Medinah Country Club delivered Scott his eighth top-10 finish of the season and puts him in 13th position on the FedEx Cup leading into the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta later this week.
Scott has made no secret of his determination to win a Presidents Cup in his ninth attempt and joked that if it doesn’t happen this year the emerging young players might squeeze him out of the team in two years’ time.
“There’s definitely some new faces, for sure,” Scott said after posting his ninth sub-70 round in his past 11 rounds.
“Maybe the start of young blood. I might be the last old bloke in the team and they’ll get rid of me soon too.
“Happy to see some young guys playing really good. You can really see they want to make the team and Ernie is definitely bringing some good energy towards these young players that are going to be in Melbourne.”
Currently ranked 19th in the world, Kuchar is the most experienced of the American players to have qualified and has been a regular visitor to the Melbourne sandbelt.
In addition to his appearance at the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, Kuchar made his professional debut at the 2000 Australian Open at Kingston Heath where he finished tied for 31st and was back again last year for the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes and the World Cup of Golf at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne.
“I remember playing Kingston Heath for the Aussie Open and then played Aussie Masters and Aussie PGA and actually hung out with Adam,” Kuchar recalled.
“He was my unofficial host that week. I went and stayed with his parents and me and Adam had some good, fun times out and about.
“Going back to Royal Melbourne is a huge treat. I have fantastic memories and Royal Melbourne is just one of the best courses in the world.
“To get the chance to play a Presidents Cup there is awesome.”
1. Marc Leishman (Australia)
4. Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)
3. Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)
4. Adam Scott (Australia)
5. Abraham Ancer (Mexico)
6. Haotong Li (China)
7. CT Pan (Chinese Taipei)
8. Cameron Smith (Australia)
Ernie Els will announce four additional captain’s picks the week of November 5.
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