JOHANNESBURG, March 14 – Presidents Cup and PGA TOUR officials on Wednesday announced Ernie Els and Tiger Woods as captains of the International and U.S. Teams, respectively, for the 2019 Presidents Cup at The Royal Melbourne Golf Course in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
While both will be first-time captains at the event, the two are the most experienced captains in terms of Presidents Cup competition and were the primary figures in the 2003 event held in South Africa, where Woods and Els competed in a dramatic sudden-death playoff that ultimately ended in a tie and the two teams sharing the Cup.
Els has competed in the Presidents Cup eight times (1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013), tied for most by an International Team member. Woods, also an eight-time U.S. Presidents Cup Team member (1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013), holed the winning putt for the United States in 2009, 2011 and 2013 – the only player to clinch the Cup three times. Both Woods and Els served as captain’s assistants for their respective teams in 2017.
“Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have each been part of the fabric of the Presidents Cup as competitors and as ambassadors to the event,” said PGA tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“Ernie carries the flag for international golf as a legendary figure both on and off the golf course, while Tiger has been one of the most transcendent athletes the sport has ever seen. These two have served, and will continue to serve, as a bridge between past team members and captains who laid the foundation for the Presidents Cup and the stars of today who are embracing the hallmarks of the event – golf on a global stage, a love and passion for the game and the impact the Presidents Cup has in emerging markets and through charity.”
Els and Woods have combined for 97 PGA tour victories, including 20 World Golf Championships events and 18 major championship titles, with 59 additional wins internationally. Following the completion of the 34 matches at the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa, the score was tied at 17, which meant a sudden-death playoff between Els and Woods as selected by then-captains Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
With sunlight fading, both players made pars on the first playoff hole. With Woods in for par on the second playoff hole, Els knocked in his 12-footer to halve. The two again traded dramatic par putts on the third playoff hole with darkness upon them. It was then decided to end the competition and declare the event a tie.
Els will be the sixth person to serve as a captain for the International Team (Nick Price – 2017, 2015, 2013; Greg Norman – 2011, 2009; Gary Player – 2007, 2005, 2003; Peter Thomson– 2000, 1998, 1996; David Graham – 1994).
“The Presidents Cup has provided me with many of the best memories of my career,” said Els. “To be named captain of the team is an incredible honour. There is a fun and talented group of young players emerging from all across the globe for the International Team, and I am eager to accept the responsibility of building a winner when we face the United States at one of my favourite courses and cities in the world at Royal Melbourne. Tiger and I have had some great duels in the past, and I look forward to the challenge of going against my long-time friend yet again in 2019.”
The 2019 Presidents Cup will be held December 9 to 15, 2019, when it returns to the prestigious Royal Melbourne Golf Club. The return to Melbourne, Australia, will mark the third time in the biennial event’s 25-year history it has been held at the renowned Sandbelt course, as the event was previously held in Melbourne in 1998 and 2011, also at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club.