There was clearly a forward spin to the press conference Tuesday that brought Tiger Woods and Ernie Els together at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the icons having agreed to be captains for the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia.
There has never been a playing captain in Presidents Cup history for the U.S. The last playing captain in Ryder Cup history was Arnold Palmer in the 1963 match at Atlanta Athletic Club. "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".
Four-time major victor Els has finished runner-up to Woods seven times, including twice in the majors.
Woods and Els have represented their teams eight times in competition, and both served as assistants for their respective captains - Steve Stricker and Nick Price - a year ago in New Jersey.
"I think he's going getting in position to maybe play", Els said about Woods.
The play-off started in rapidly approaching twilight and by the time Woods and Els had halved the fiendishly hard par-three second hole (their third play-off hole) in par‚ there wasn't enough daylight to continue.
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"It definitely isn't going to hurt, considering what happened in South Africa", American Jim Furyk said of the Els/Woods captaincies.
Woods said that when he inquired with Monahan about taking on the role, he did ask if he would be allowed to be a playing captain. "But if it does come to that point, it won't just be just my decision, it will be a collaborative effort, what is best for the team".
Els, a four-time major victor, takes over from Nick Price who has guided the Internationals at the last three Presidents Cups. "I think we're going to be captaining". "I've been a part of eight times as a player, one time as a vice captain, and to have played it in Canada, to play it in South Africa, Australia twice, it's been a lot of fun to be able to move this cup all over the place".
But Woods expects Melbourne crowds to return the favour if the Internationals side is again populated by several Australian golfers.
In addition, each of the 12 players has to contest at least one match prior to the singles, as opposed to two matches.
Despite the worldwide players wanting a Monday finish‚ captains Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus chose to call the match a draw‚ allowing the U.S. to retain the Cup. In the past, the top 10 players on the FedExCup points list have qualified for that year's USA team, and the top 10 in world rankings have qualified for the worldwide team. Captains will later select four captains' picks (at date to be determined) closer to the December 2019 event.