Selecting players to fill out the Presidents Cup roster is always a challenge for team captains.
The task is growing exponentially tougher this year as players jump ship from the PGA Tour to Saudi-backed LIV Golf. Just ask U.S. captain Davis Love III.
Love addressed his awkward position on Wednesday while speaking ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
“It’s just, it’s a distraction,” Love said. “I did a radio show the other day and the guys said, ‘What do you think about Talor Gooch? Do you think he could be a pick or not?’ I go, ‘He’s not eligible,’ and there was silence. I know he’s on the list, but he’s not eligible to play. So yeah, that’s tough.”
The Presidents Cup is scheduled for Sept. 22-25 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.
Love said the task of picking players will be tougher on his counterpart, International team captain Trevor Immelman of South Africa, than on him. However, the U.S. team will be without possible selections such as Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson.
“I know the guys that are vying for the team now are super committed to the PGA Tour and are very excited about the Presidents Cup,” Love said. “I’m going to have guys like (Max) Homa and (Will) Zalatoris that are jacked up about it, to be on their first team.
“(Homa is a) new guy that’s really going to bring some energy to the team and excitement to the team, I love that about Max. And there’s a bunch of other guys who are in that boat, but Max has been very out front with it and that’s great, that’s what we need.”
Love is looking forward to playing with Zalatoris the next two days in Detroit.
“He’s a pretty confident, fun guy, but now I know that I don’t have to worry about Will and I getting along,” Love said. “He knows who I am, I know who he is and that relationship, that captain-player relationship, you know, he’s got my number. I just need to do that with a couple more guys.”
Love has already named two of his assistant captains, Fred Couples and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson. He was asked if Tiger Woods might be an option.
“I don’t know who my next two assistants will be, we’re just watching guys play right now,” Love said. “We have a very good idea of a short list for me and then for Zach for next year. Hopefully, maybe even next week we’ll announce two more.”
The United States has won 11 of the 13 Presidents Cup competitions and tied another. The U.S. is on an eight-series winning streak, including the most recent edition, in 2019 at Melbourne, Australia.
The Presidents Cup matches being held this year were postponed from 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
–Field Level Media