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The Loop

Will Norman go out on a limb with captain's picks?

September 04, 2009

A Presidents Cup with a 17-year-old, a Nationwide Tour player, or both? Here's hoping that International team captain Greg Norman has the courage to do so.

Andrew Both of the Australian Associated Press writes that 17-year-old Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa and Australian Michael Sim, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour this year, have emerged as the leading candidates to join the International team as Norman's captain's picks.

"As team member Robert Allenby said on Thursday: 'If you pick it on performance, Ishikawa's playing best and Sim's playing next best,'" Both writes.

The fact is that each is playing better than the alternatives, notwithstanding the fact that Ishikawa (who plays the Japan Golf Tour) and Sim have been competing on tours on which the competition is not to the standard of the PGA Tour.

"South African Rory Sabbatini, who finished 11th on the standings and just missed an automatic spot on the team, missed the cut last week, as did Korean KJ Choi, while Australian Mathew Goggin pulled out after the first round," Both writes.

Ishikawa and Sim would help boost interest in the event, to be sure, Ishikawa because of his age and massive potential (he's already ranked 62nd in the world) and Sim because of the battlefield promotion he's earned to the PGA Tour by virtue of three Nationwide Tour victories this year.

Norman will announce his selections on Tuesday.

-- John Strege