Ernie Els tabs a pair of Masters champions as assistants for 2019 Presidents Cup
The International staff for the 2019 Presidents Cup isn't lacking when it comes to major-championship acumen.
Captain Ernie Els, he of two U.S. and two British Opens victories, tabbed a pair of former green jacket winners in Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman to serve as assistants for the biennial matches in Melbourne. The vice captains are rounded out by Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champ, and eight-time tour winner K.J Choi.
"Choosing my assistant captains, I gave it quite a bit of thought," Els said on Tuesday at a press conference in Australia. “I’ve seen what other captains have done in the past. 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, and I wanted to get guys who have played a lot of Presidents Cups like myself.”
Weir made five Presidents Cup appearances for the International squad, posting a successful 13-9-2 record in his career. He was also part of the 2017 club as an assistant to Nick Price.
“The Presidents Cup has been a big part of my career. I grew up playing a lot of team sports and when I made my first Presidents Cup team in 2000 it was really one of the highlights,” Weir said. “So it’s been special to still be part of the team as an assistant to Nick and now Ernie. We have a long history. We’re basically the same age, we’ve played a lot of golf together so it’s going to be really fun to try to get the Internationals over the line this time.”
Immelman played in the 2005 and 2007 matches, while Choi has been a part of three teams. “I’m personally very happy and honored,” Choi said. “You need amazing teamwork to win the Presidents Cup. It’s our role as captain’s assistants to bring together players of different nationalities and have them blend well together. It’s our role to have them open up to us and help relieve some of the pressure they might feel.”
Els, who has an International-best 21 points in the Presidents Cup, will be looking to lead his side to its first victory since 1998.
In February U.S. captain Tiger Woods announced three vice-captains for Team America: Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. Woods has the option of adding another assistant to his roster, although he'll likely wait until the competition is closer to fill that slot. Tiger has made eight Presidents Cup appearances in his career, second only behind Phil Mickelson.
The 2019 Presidents Cup begins Dec. 12 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, the site of the only International win in the event's 25-year history.