Mickelson and Hoffman picked for US side by Captain Steve Stricker, while International Captain Nick Price opts for Emiliano Grillo and surprise pick Anirban Lahiri
Stricker and Price finalised their two Captain’s picks on Wednesday ahead of the 12th edition of the Presidents Cup, which will take place in New Jersey at Liberty National Golf Course from September 26 to October 1.
Phil Mickelson finished 15th in the overall Presidents Cup standings, but Steve Stricker named him as one of his two captains picks, ensuring his 12th consecutive appearance – having played in each one of the previous 11 contests.
That takes Mickelson’s current count of successive team matches up to 22 thanks to 11 straight Ryder Cup appearances, and his experience that is much welcomed to a US team that has six Presidents Cup rookies.
“Phil is so valuable in the team room and is a tremendous partner on the golf course,” Stricker said. “As someone who has been on 22 straight teams, he’s a deserving pick, and he showed that with his strong play in Boston at the Dell Technologies Championship last week.
Charley Hoffman was edged out of the automatic top 10 qualification spots by Kevin Chappell by just 0.073 points following Chappell’s performance at the Dell Technologies Championship, but he was another straight-foward pick for Stricker to make.
“I’ve had my eye on the 11th spot as it came down to a tight race between two very talented players. Charley has played well all year and had a great summer. He’s shown a lot of fight and will be a great addition to our team.”
The International team’s picks were a little less straightforward for Captain Price. Emiliano Grillo was an expected call up, with the new Presidents Cup rookie having finished in 11th spot – but his second pick was more of a surprise.
“Emiliano has always been on our radar since earning the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award last year,” said Price. “He’s an explosive player who can make a lot of birdies, and he’s proven he can win on Tour.
“He made eight birdies in the final round at TPC Boston on Monday. He’s been on the cusp of qualifying for the International Team via the standings for the last few months, and at No 11, we feel his consistent performance over the past two years definitely warrants a pick.
Nick Price then overlooked a few others in the rankings in favour of experience in Anirban Lahiri, who appeared on the 2015 Presidents Cup team that narrowly lost 15.5 to 14.5. Despite having lost all three of his matches, Price feels that what he brings to the team room more than makes up for that.
“With Anirban at No 16 in the standings, picking him may surprise some people, but my captain’s assistants and I felt like the team needed an additional player who has experienced Presidents Cup pressure before.
“We have three rookies who qualified, plus Emiliano making his debut. Anirban’s experience in South Korea two years ago will be invaluable for him, and the International Team, at Liberty National this year.”
USA vs International Team: How do they match up?
The USA team currently don’t have a single player ranked over #30 in the world, and have four in the World’s top 10 – giving them a distinct advantage over their International counterparts. They have President Cup six rookies, but one of those is PGA Champion and Mr. 59 Justin Thomas, while another is US Open champion Brooks Koepka. Combined, the US team have three majors and 16 wins in the 2016/17 season – compared to the 7 wins from the International side.
Dustin Johnson (World No. 1): 2 Appearances (2011, 2015)
9 Matches, 4.5 points: 4W, 4L, 1H
Victories in 2016/17: 4
Jordan Spieth (World No.2): 2 Appearances (2013, 2015)
9 Matches, 5 points: 5W, 4L
Victories in 2016/17: 3
Rickie Fowler (World No.10): 1 Appearance (2015)
4 Matches, 1 point: 1W, 3L
Victories in 2016/17: 1
Patrick Reed (World No.19): 1 Appearance (2015)
4 Matches, 1.5 points: 1 W, 2L, 1H
Matt Kuchar (World No.13): 3 Appearances (2011, 2013, 2015)
13 Matches, 5 points: 4W, 7L, 2H
Phil Mickelson (World No. 29): 11 Appearances (’94-’15)
51 Matches, 29 points: 23W, 16L, 12H
Justin Thomas (World No. 4) – ROOKIE
Daniel Berger (World No. 24) – ROOKIE
Brooks Koepka (World No. 11) – ROOKIE
Kevin Chappell (World No. 27) – ROOKIE
Kevin Kisner (World No. 25) – ROOKIE
Charley Hoffman (World No. 22) – ROOKIE
International Team: The International team currently have two players ranked inside the World’s top10, but have just six in the World’s top 30. They have four rookies on their side, which is two less than the American team – but considering that the International team has just one victory in 11 matches, it would be hard to argue they have momentum on their side (particularly as the USA have three of the year’s four majors, two WGCs).
Hideki Matsuyama (World No. 3): 2 Appearances (2013, 2015)
9 Matches, 4 points: 3W, 4L, 2H
Jason Day (World No. 9): 3 Appearances (2011, 2013, 2015)
15 Matches, 5.5 points: 4W, 8L, 3H
Adam Scott (World No. 20): 7 Appearances (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015)
35 Matches, 15.5points: 13W, 17L, 5H
Louis Oosthuizen(World No. 21): 2 Appearances (2013, 2015)
10 Matches, 6 points: 5W, 3L, 2H
Charl Schwartzel (World No. 26): 2 Appearances (2013, 2015)
14 Matches, 6.5points: 6W, 7L, 1H
Branden Grace (World No. 34): 2 Appearances (2013, 2015)
9 Matches, 5 points: 5W, 4L
Marc Leishman (World No. 23): 2 Appearances (2013, 2015)
8 Matches, 3.5 points: 3W, 4L, 1H
Anirban Lahiri (World No. 75): 1 Appearance (2015)
3 Matches, 0 points: 3L
Jhonattan Vegas (World No. 37) – ROOKIE
Si Woo Kim (World No. 36) – ROOKIE
Adam Hadwin (World No. 45)- ROOKIE
Emiliano Grillo (World No. 54) – ROOKIE