Ancer and China’s HaoTong Li pushing for inclusion as the first ever representatives from their nations. They’ll all have to master what is likely to be the real star of the show: Royal Melbourne. An Alister MacKenzie masterpiece in a famed region for golf, the course is a tribute to the old school. If conditions get firm and fast in the Australian summer, imagination and precision is key around this majestic track. “One of the greatest golf courses in all of the world. The layout is fantastic. It’s very tough. It’s tricky,” Woods says. It is about the course itself that Els believes he can impart the most wisdom on his players as they look for the ambush victory. Els won the old Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and was runner up in 2005. In the 2004 edition he shot a magical 60 on his way to victory. And he intends to lean on that experience, while also implementing analytics to try to find a way through the dominant Americans. “I’ve seen what other captains have done in the past,” Els says. “In this instance, I really wanted to try and start a new
thinking process around the pairing system. I’m using a lot of data, a lot of science into what we’re going to be doing in December in Australia.” Els is also hoping a few format tweaks can help his side. He now has four captains picks as opposed to two in the past, and he now only needs to play each player once before Sunday singles if he so chooses, allowing him to shield a player who may be out of form. Els has also been given more say in the golf course setup as the home team and gets to choose the order of play. Even catering has been changed, with Els given more flexibility to ensure all cultures and tastes in his side are looked after. “It feels a lot more positive. I spoke with Tiger in the room with [PGA TOUR Commissioner] Jay Monahan, just the three of us, and we went through a lot of stuff,” Els said of getting his changes. “I can now play a guy once before Sunday, which was never the case; a guy almost had to play every session. Tiger didn’t like that much, but I got it through eventually. I feel it’s a lot fairer and I think we’ve got a good shot at it now.” It should be a great battle.
Jason Day of the International Team hits a drive on the 14th hole during the Sunday singles matches at Liberty National Golf Club on October 1, 2017, in Jersey City, New Jersey.
48 PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2019, Part 2
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In this issue of the Official PGA TOUR Essential Guide to Golf, Rory McIlroy emerges from THE PLAYERS Championship with an important title....
Published on Jun 5, 2019