News came out yesterday that Ernie Els might actually consider skipping the Presidents Cup. Why? Because the PGA Tour couldn’t find a date that didn’t conflict with the South African Open, Els’ national tournament and an event played by the likes of Tim Clark, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. Yep — that’s a lot of South Africans who would be on the Presidents Cup team and would have to make a decision. Imagine this as if Mike Weir was being asked to skip the Canadian Open and then consider what the uproar would be.
Here’s Els’ take (source):
“It doesn’t make sense,” Els said. “This is my national open. I don’t get a chance to play there often. I don’t know about the timing of this, but I’m sure the U.S. tour had the date set already for the Presidents Cup. Then the European Tour comes in and … why are they trying to (mess) with myself and Retief and Tim? Don’t they have any regard for the Presidents Cup?
This is indicative of several things — first, it is probably time to do away with the Presidents Cup and integrate the Ryder Cup into some format that includes non-European and non-American players. It has happened before when Europeans beyond those from the U.K. were included in the squad. Why not have it happen again?
Secondly, it is time that the powers-that-be — and we’re looking at you Tim Finchem — decide that golf is now truly an international game and the tours need to consider their schedules in a more holistic way.
If I were Els, I’d be pissed too. We’ll see how this plays out, but the Presidents Cup won’t be much of an event without the South Africans.