2013 International Presidents Cup Team: Players Who Must Step Up to Beat America
The International squad needs to step it up in the Presidents Cup. Comprised of players outside of Europe and America, the Internationals have won this biennial competition just once since it began in 1994—and that was way back in 1998.
Lately, the Internationals haven't even been close. In the last four contests, the average margin of victory for the Americans has been over four points.
There is no doubt the Americans have a deeper roster this year and are rightfully considered the favorite, but International captain Nick Price has enough talent to get the job done if his guys are on their game.
Check out the rosters and then I'll highlight three International players who have to come up big if their side wants to end its drought.
Team International: Adam Scott, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Richard Sterne, Hideki Matsuyama, Graham DeLaet, Angel Cabrera, Marc Leishman, Brendon de Jonge.
You'll notice I skipped over Adam Scott at the top of the International roster to highlight Jason Day. At this point in Scott's career, he doesn't really have to step up to beat anyone. He just has to play his game.
Meanwhile, Day has the talent to beat anyone on the planet, but that has left him close but without a trophy too many times. The 25-year-old has found a way to continually work himself into contention at majors, but he still has just one PGA Tour win.
I'm not trying to bash Day. I think he will have a marvelous career. He is still a youngster. He will learn how to win. However, the International side needs him to learn how to do a lot of winning in this four-day event.
I've always loved Ernie Els' swing. The Big Easy lives up to his nickname by booming the ball with an evenly paced and relaxed swing. It is no surprise to me that he can still compete at the highest levels at age 43.
With that said, he doesn't always putt at the highest level. Poor putting can be a quick route to disaster in this kind of setting, and if Els is unable to provide a tough match, the Internationals will be in trouble.
Els has won at Muirfield Village—the home of this year's Presidents Cup—but that was many moons ago. The South African hasn't been inside the top 30 at an event at Muirfield since 2009. If Els is hot, he will be able to grab valuable points in a hurry for his team.
Marc Leishman has a light profile for this kind of competition but he is the exact kind of player Price needs to step it up.
The Internationals biggest problem is their deficit in depth. The Americans have put a hurting on the International side the further down the pecking order things have gone. Leishman can help change that.
Leishman had four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, and that included a fourth-place finish at the Masters.
Nothing about Leishman's game jumps out at you, but he is a solid player in all facets, and when he has his ball-striking grooved he can play at a high level.
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