Internationals captain-to-be Ernie Els has called for sweeping changes to be made ahead of the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne after a “slaughtering” at the hands of a US dream team.
The Internationals arrived at Liberty National in New Jersey seeking just their second win in the lopsided biennial teams event since its inaugural edition in 1994, but were hammered 19-11 by the Americans.
With US president Donald Trump watching, only a stoic effort by the Internationals to win the Sunday singles session 7.5-4.5 staved off a record defeat as the US clinched a seventh consecutive Cup.
“It was a bit of a slaughtering. But we’ve got to stand up, take our ass-whipping like men and walk out with our heads high,” said eight-time Internationals veteran Adam Scott.
Tipped to succeed Nick Price as Internationals captain, South African great Els called for an overhaul of “logistics, scheduling, selection process (and) course set-up” for the next instalment at Royal Melbourne in December 2019.
“The Presidents Cup is owned by the PGA Tour, but we have to be more in control,” said Els.
“There’s got to be a two-way street; we just want to be treated fairly.”
Els criticised the selection criteria for the Internationals, which is comprised of the top-10 players on the world rankings excluding those from Europe and Great Britain.
The US team is filled by the top 10 players on a rolling, two-year tally of FedEx Cup points, before both teams select two captain’s picks.
This year, all 12 American players were ranked inside the world’s top 30, compared to six for the visitors, and four of the Americans are within the top 10.
“Maybe we should have our own selection process; picking six guys and six guys qualifiers … instead of being dictated by the Tour,” said Els.
Scott says playing an annual team event benefits the Americans, who also face off against Europe in the higher-profile Ryder Cup.
“Playing together every year; they are getting good at it. They have found a system and they are winning,” said Scott.
“We need more practice of team play. The (Internationals) are really going to have to invest more in this as a group collectively on the off-year.
“This (defeat) is on the cards (again) unless we really get our acts together.”
US assistant captain Tiger Woods agreed.
“The (US) have already played junior golf, college golf and the early part of their pro career together. It was very simple for us to put the team together,” said 14-time major winner Woods.
Australian world No.7 Jason Day says a star-studded American side will only get better.
“I don’t know if they’re the best (team ever), but they will be in years to come. They’re only going to get better,” Day said.