Presidents Cup picks named

2011-09-28 07:45

New York - PGA Tour Championship winner Bill Haas, 14-time major winner Tiger Woods and Australians Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby were named on Tuesday as captain's choices for the Presidents Cup.

Australian Greg Norman, captain of the Internationals, and US captain Fred Couples completed the 12-man line-ups for matches November 17-20 at Australia's Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where the global side's lone victory came in 1998.

"They know they have lost the Cup all the years but one and they want to win it and the Aussies want to do it in their own backyard," Norman said.

The Americans own a 7-1-1 record in the Ryder Cup-styled team event which involves non-European players. US players have won the trophy three times in a row since a memorable draw in South Africa in 2003.

Couples said that he would add PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley to the US side if Steve Stricker, who has an injured left arm, is unable to play in the biennial event. Stricker has often paired with Woods in past team events.

"We have a hell of a team," Woods said. "I would like to go out with anybody."

Internationals qualifiers on points included Aussies Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Jason Day, South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, South Koreans K.J. Choi, Kim Kyung-tae and Yang Yong-Eun plus Japan's Ryo Ishikawa.

US qualifiers included Dustin Johnson, Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, David Toms and Jim Furyk.

Couples had previously announced he would select 50th-ranked Woods, who struggled with injuries this year and who has not won any title since November of 2009 and the eruption of his infamous sex scandal.

"Things are going great," Woods said. "I'm practicing very hard. I'm playing as much as I possibly can. My training sessions are great. My strength has come back. My explosiveness has come back. I'm starting to get my feels back."

Woods will play next week's PGA Tour Open, an event aimed at players fighting to keep their playing rights for 2012 that he would typically skip, after Couples said he wanted to see Woods play again before the Presidents Cup.

"I'm thankful Tiger is healthy and ready to play," Couples said.

Woods has hired Joe LaCava, former caddie for US team-mate Johnson and Couples, to be his new bagman, replacing Steve Williams, who now caddies for Australian Adam Scott, who is on the Internationals for the Presidents Cup.

"We're going to wing it on the fly at the Frys," Woods said. "I hit the ball shorter than Dustin so he will have to get used to that."

Haas won the season-ending Tour Championship and the season playoff crown in a playoff on Sunday to take home $11.4 million, almost as much a his father Jay - a US Presidents Cup assistant captain - won in his entire 798-start PGA career.

"This is a very special thing," Haas said. "For it to happen like this is awesome."

Bradley, the nephew of LPGA legend Pat Bradley, became only the third player in a century to win his major debut when he took last month's PGA Championship at Atlanta.

Norman revealed he had already told Ogilvy he would be a captain's pick if he had not qualified on points, but that he was overjoyed Ogilvy made it so he could add two Aussies, giving him five on the squad.

"I needed all of them and at the end of the day it just worked out perfectly for us," Norman said.

"(Allenby's) performances around Royal Melbourne over the years have been extraordinary. He's a great team player and he has a lot of chemistry in the locker room. He was an automatic pick for me."

Norman told Baddeley and Senden last week that whoever finished higher at the Tour Championship would get the nod for the other pick. Baddeley shared third and got the call.

"I'm so excited that Greg picked me," Baddeley said. "It was really pleasing to be able to perform when I needed to. It's an absolute dream come true."

Allenby said he was relieved when Norman said he was on the team.

"The relief was humungous," Allenby said. "The first thing I said is, 'You will get 12 million percent out of me and my ability to play golf.'"