Els picks Day for historically young Presidents Cup team
Field Level Mediaon
Former world No. 1 Jason Day was among the four Presidents Cup captain's picks announced by International Team captain Ernie Els on Wednesday.
The 13th edition of the event will be held Dec. 12-15 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. United States team captain Tiger Woods will announce his four captain's picks on Thursday.
Day finished ninth in the International Team rankings, and his selection by Els was considered a forgone conclusion. He will join fellow Australians Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith on the International Team.
Day, who will be playing in his fifth consecutive Presidents Cup, will also provide an experienced voice for the youngest International Team in Presidents Cup history that will average just over 29 years old.
"I threw age out of the equation," Els said. "These are world class players and they have obviously proven themselves, and they have one helluva future in this event."
Day owns a 5-11-4 President Cup record, but he is 22-14-0 in match play elsewhere.
"I want to thank Ernie, to have the faith in me, and I'm looking forward to catching up with the whole team down in Australia," Day said. "Hopefully most of the team are at the Australian Open, as well, but it's great to be able to get a captain's pick and I'm looking forward to get down to Australia and play down there."
Els' other three captain's picks included a pair of 21-year-olds: 2018-19 PGA Tour rookie of the year Sungjae Im from South Korea and Chile's Joaquin Niemann, who earned his first Tour victory in September. Im has yet to win on Tour, but he was the only rookie to reach the Tour Championship last season.
"It has always been a dream of mine to make the Presidents Cup, so I'm so happy to have been chosen as a captain's pick," Im said. "I really want to beat the United States team. There were so many great players that could've been picked, so I'm really thankful that Captain Ernie Els chose me. I watched (the 2015 Presidents Cup) from home on the TV when I was in South Korea. It motivated me a lot to make the International Team one day."
Els' fourth pick was Canada's Adam Hadwin, who will make his second consecutive Presidents Cup appearance. The 32-year-old went 0-2-1 in his debut two years ago.
"With this Presidents Cup approaching and me starting to play some good golf again, I was just hungry for a second chance," Hadwin said. "That's not how I would like my contribution to The Presidents Cup to be remembered, and I'm looking forward to having a second chance down at Royal Melbourne, a part of an incredible International Team, and hopefully we can right some of the wrongs that we've had in the past and do Captain Els proud."
In addition to Leishman, Scott, Smith and the four captain's picks, the International Team will include Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, Mexico's Abraham Ancer, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, China's Haotong Li and Taiwan's C.T. Pan.
Notables who failed to make the team include South Korea's Ben An, Canada's Corey Conners and South Africans Branden Grace and Erik Van Rooyen.
The U.S. is 10-1-1 in previous Presidents Cups, including retaining the title 19-11 two years ago.