International trio look to hit high notes at Presidents Cup

Last Updated: Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 14:29

San Francisco: Fiji`s Vijay Singh and South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen were once members of golf`s Fab Five, a super group that also included Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

But as the Internationals prepare to take on the United States at the Presidents Cup this week, the trio are more like rock group Three Dog Night -- still touring but far from the top of the charts.
The three veterans, however, will have to hit a few high notes starting with Thursday`s foursomes if the underdog Internationals are to upset the heavily favoured Americans at Harding Park Golf Course.

"In the past we have had really a strong team on paper, world ranking wise," Els told reporters. "This year I`ve fallen back quite a bit, Retief has fallen back a little bit and Vijay."

"In the past we used to have three, four guys in the top 10. Now we barely have guys in the top 30. So it`s changed a little bit."

Former world number one Els has seen his ranking dip to 23, while Goosen has slid to 21. Singh sits at 15.

The Fijian, another former world number one, won nine PGA Tour events off his own back in 2004 alone. This year, the three team mates, despite holding eight major titles between them, have just one victory from both the PGA and European Tours -- Goosen`s win at the Tampa Bay Open way back in March.

Although the three bring little form into the biennial competition, they bring a wealth of experience to complement the team`s more youthful contingent, which includes 18-year-old Japanese sensation, Ryo Ishikawa.

Singh has played in all seven Presidents Cups while Els will be appearing in his sixth and Goosen his fifth.
"I think Ryo is one of the most exciting players in the world today," Els said of the teenager, who has enjoyed four wins on the Japanese Tour this year.

"So we have got some new faces, new talent."

"I know Vijay has played every (Presidents Cup), I`ve played most of them, Retief has played a lot of them. So we have got a little bit of scar tissue," he added.

A victory this week would go a long way towards healing old wounds, given the Internationals have lost the last two and won only once since the competition began in 1994.

"Like Ernie says, in the past we have sort of been on paper the stronger team and we didn`t do too well," said Goosen. "So this is the first time we are sort of underdogs ... So the guys are pretty fired up."

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 14:29
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