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Presidents Cup offers Ryder Cup insight

Updated: Wednesday, 02 Oct 2013 15:43 | Comments

Tom Watson will learn plenty from this week's Presidents Cup
Tom Watson will learn plenty from this week's Presidents Cup

Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson will be extremely interested observers when the 10th Presidents Cup gets under way on Thursday.

Although neither man will be present at Muirfield Village as Fred Couples' United States side takes on the International team captained by Nick Price, Watson's vice-captain Andy North will be there and McGinley will watch on television after play in the Seve Trophy finishes each day.

"I have Andy North there all week," Watson said. "He has been around these players a lot more than I have and he will be my eyes and ears. I don't think it's my place to be there. I will be watching with great interest to see who is playing with whom.

"Right now I don't have any teams that I've already made up in my mind about who is going to play with whom (at Gleneagles)."

McGinley will also be keen to see what pairings Couples comes up with, adding: "A big mark in the sand for me is the Presidents Cup. It has served the Americans particularly well in terms of forming partnerships.

"I think Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson - who won all three of their matches together in the Ryder Cup at Medinah last year - has come out of that, no doubt about it. It will be interesting to see what is done with Jordan Spieth, what he will do with Tiger (Woods)."

The United States has dominated the competition since it started in 1994, winning seven times and losing just once, while the 2003 contest ended in a controversial 17-17 tie in South Africa with a play-off between Ernie Els and Tiger Woods halted due to darkness.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel admits the International team need to start winning to take the competition to the "next level".

"I think for us, we're feeding off guys like Ernie and Adam (Scott) that have played in seven or eight of these things," said Schwartzel, one of a record five South Africans in the team along with former Open champions Els and Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Richard Sterne.

"And you can see by the way they feel that they really are sick and tired of losing. That's urging us on to change that around. I also think we feel we're sort of the new generation maybe. If you want to take the Presidents Cup to the next level, it's up to us to do it."

World number two Scott believes the contest "loses any credibility whatsoever" if his side do not start winning soon and Schwartzel added: "I agree.

"It needs the excitement of 2003. Come Sunday, it needs to come down to the last few matches. If the Internationals can pull it through, it can really start making a competition of this event."

Unsurprisingly, members of the American team are quite happy to keep winning.

"We like the way it's gone, and we'd like to keep it going that way," Woods said.

And Matt Kuchar added: "You're probably asking the wrong guy. I think anybody that's on the American team would like to continue the American domination. I've only played in one (in Melbourne) and it didn't seem to lack in any sort of support by the Australians. The crowd support was great down there."

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