By Paul Prendergast.
Photo: Golfplus Media
It may hopefully be the case that it’s ‘Third time lucky’ for Internationals Captain Trevor Immelman when he announced Korea’s K.J. Choi, Canada’s Mike Weir and Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy as returning as Captain’s Assistants for the 2022 Presidents Cup matches to be played at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina from September 20-25.
Choi, Weir and Ogilvy will be making their third consecutive appearance as Assistants having first joined forces under Nick Price at Liberty National in 2017 and again under Ernie Els at Royal Melbourne in 2019.
Joining them for the first time will be Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, himself a one-time Presidents Cup representative back at TPC Harding Park in 2009.
For those looking into the tea leaves to predict future Internationals skippers – not that we’re prematurely writing off Immelman from returning, especially if he can pull off a victory this year – it’s hard not to see past these announcements to the prospect of Weir and Ogilvy ascending to the top job when you cast an eye at the future Cup venues .
You would have to think regardless of the 2022 outcome, Weir would be a lock to lead the Internationals in his home country when the Presidents Cup returns to Royal Montreal in 2024. Thereafter, Ogilvy may reign as a multi-year skipper with the 2026 Cup scheduled for Medinah Country Club in Chicago (which the Ogilvy Cocking Mead design team are in the process of re-designing ) and in his home city of Melbourne in 2028.
However, lets not get ahead of ourselves. There are stirring memories of the close shave at Royal Melbourne in 2019 to resurrect as a catalyst to break a victory drought dating back to 1998, when Joaquin Niemann was a one-month old babe in a cot back in Santiago, Chile and Cameron Smith was counting the sleeps till kindergarten started in suburban Brisbane.
The United States will count themselves as fortunate to have fought back on the final day at Royal Melbourne three years ago to win 16-14 for skipper, Tiger Woods. While they will continue to field a team of strength from top to bottom, members of the Internationals 2019 lineup and especially the young core they blooded that year have gone on to win a variety of big events including The Masters (Matsuyama) and The Players (Smith) in the past few years.
There’s no doubting a close-knit mateship, enthusiasm and heightened levels of fearlessless and self belief will be traits we can definitely count on from the team Immelman & Co. will unveil in North Carolina in September.