Why players love Fred Couples, Internationals to watch and more

Why players love Fred Couples, Internationals to watch and more

CHARLOTTE, NC — There’s no denying the Americans have the advantage over paper in the 2022 Presidents Cup.

All 12 players on Davis Love III’s U.S. team rank among the top 25 in the world, with five inside the top 10. Only five international players rank inside the top 30. The Americans have five rookies, but two have played in the Ryder Cup.

Americans aren’t afraid to tell you how good they are either.

“I mean, they don’t miss a lot of shots and they have fun doing it,” assistant captain Fred Couples said, “and they like to show off a little bit and squeak.”

If anyone knows about squeaky, stinging players, it’s Couples, the three-time Presidents Cup captain who is now in his fourth stint as assistant captain.

“So he’s a great guy to have in the team room. He’s very laid back, laid back, he rubs off on everyone,” Steve Stricker said of Couples. “And he’s not afraid to beat people up, have fun with people, but when it comes time to be serious, he’s there to be serious and, like I said, to bring that insight and that perspective that he has.”

“Inside the team room, he might seem like he has a really laid-back, simplistic outlook, but he’s extremely cerebral. There’s a lot of thought, and he puts a lot into it. He has invested. You just want to be close to it,” added Zach Johnson, a two-time assistant captain who is preparing for his Ryder Cup captaincy in 2023. “So I like that he gurgles. He gets into these kids. He is not going to let them get on him or get complacent. He will hunt them down, and that is what you want in a leader.

“He’s been one of my favorite guys I’ve ever had to play for, period.”

Love for Boom Boom Couples wasn’t the only thing discussed on the final day of practice rounds before Thursday’s foursome matches. From the upcoming international challenge to some fun players to watch, here are some highlights from a busy day of press conferences ahead of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

The international challenge

The challenge is, I don’t know, we have to win 15.5 points against a really good team,” assistant captain Geoff Ogilvy said. “(Ernie Els) did an amazing job last time. I think we got a little bit of momentum out of it. We have eight new players, maybe more, this week coming out here.

“I think it’s a perfect year for a really fresh young team. Everyone is super excited.”

Let’s not take a look at the “maybe more” comment than the eight new players. The rosters are in, but don’t be surprised to see some guys come out and support their respective teams this week. Immelman said in a No Laying Up podcast episode that Mackenzie Hughes, who lives in Charlotte, has been calling him and asking for tickets so he can come watch and spend time with the team. Will Zalatoris, who would have played for Team USA had he not been injured, was seen on the field during Wednesday’s practice round.

While this event still lives somewhat in the shadow of the Ryder Cup and has struggled to find its identity, it still means a lot to players.

Speaking of identity… what steps have the Internationals taken since 2019?

“Look, I think the shield, I think, is quite important. I think it was often difficult for us to have a kind of identity,” Ogilvy explained, “to bring so many different cultures together in the same place.”

“The first year (2019) was great. This is the second time. It is becoming more recognizable. People are starting to buy the merchandise. Kids growing up in the world look at that and think, ‘I want that on my shirt one day,’ and that’s really powerful,” she added. “You can underestimate that, but that is a really powerful thing. We represent the rest of the world. That’s a lot of people.”

“More than anything, it has given this team an identity and given international kids something to look forward to.”

Simpson’s Knowledge of Quail Hollow Doesn’t Go As Far As You Think

“I don’t have a lot to offer these guys in terms of course knowledge,” said Webb Simpson, US assistant captain and member of Quail Hollow. “One, most of the guys have been here and they know it. And I tell you, these caddies, they know what they’re doing. We get to the greens, they’re putting the holes exactly where I would have put them, and they’re telling the players to hit this putt and this chip.”

“More than anything, I have been a flag-bearer and a rake in the last few days. But whatever you need from me, I’ll give it to you. I will not stop.

Kim is stealing the show behind the scenes

Everyone has something good to say about international rookie Tom Kim. The 20-year-old South Korean is coming off a breakout season on the PGA Tour that featured 10 cuts in 11 starts with six top-25 finishes and a victory at last month’s Wyndham Championship. Off the field, his sense of humor and youthful exuberance have been the catalyst for good vibes in the international team room.

“We are at 12 today, and (Tom) makes a mistake doing simple math there,” explained assistant captain Camilo Villegas. “So I looked at the kid and said, ‘Tom, is that college math?’ He looks at me and says, ‘Dude, I didn’t even graduate from high school.’”

Watch Pendrith

“I think people will get to know Taylor Pendrith this week and in the future. Very impressed with his game,” Canadian golf legend and assistant captain Mike Weir said. “I think you all know how long he has him, and that is what is talked about. He has a good, complete game. Seeing him hit iron shots, shoot, put, he is a very good player.

“You could put him on the field against anybody, and you’d say, ‘Is that guy the No. 1 player in the world or is he going to be?’ It’s that impressive. I’m so excited for him to be on the team.”

Ready

If a PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf, would you play? Presidents Cup players respond (and some may surprise you).

Presidents Cup 2022

Presidents Cup 2022

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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