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Gary Player wants to take Presidents Cup global

Golf globetrotter Gary Player and all-time major wins leader Jack Nicklaus, rival captains at the Presidents Cup, want to see the biennial team matches played in China and India to boost the sport.

Nicklaus' US squad beat Player's Internationals 19 1/2-14 1/2 Sunday, giving the Americans their first triumph beyond US soil. The US team improved to 5-1-1 in the rivalry against players from beyond Europe.

Player, a 71-year-old South African who pioneered spanning the globe to play golf, sees the event as a way of taking the game to places where the game needs to develop and perhaps spark development of an Asian superstar major winner.

"We should be going into China. We should be going into India and I think we should be going into Eastern Europe," Player said. "That would be my great dream to see that."

Player pushed for opening new markets to sell golf equipment and spread the golfing gospel into Asian areas that have not yet produced talent worthy of playing in the Cup.

"We should be going to places to promote golf," Player said. "One of the things we've got to think about is getting youth around the world to play golf and we've got to think of manufacturers who are making clubs for everybody."

Nicklaus sees Cup missions to China, India and even Eastern Europe but has no expectation it will happen any time soon.

"I think it will eventually," Nicklaus said. "The Presidents Cup needs to go over the next probably 10 or 15 years to places that can support it, understand it, really take care of the event.

"Ultimately the game of golf is going to grow in China, in the Eastern bloc, but it's going to be a long time before that is really there. You've got to go to the golfing countries of the world."

Australia hosted the Cup in 1998 and will again in 2011. South Africa was the 2003 host. Nicklaus said South Korea and Argentina, each with a player on this year's team, could also handle the event now.

"But you have got to look at the financial viability of it," Nicklaus said. "It's an event that produces a lot of dollars. You're not going to take it someplace just to take it for the game of golf. Yet.

"But that will happen. And it won't be that long."

The Internationals only victory came Down Under in 1998 and they drew in South Africa, prompting South African star Ernie Els to suggest the global talent take a greater role in selecting future host venues.

"The two we did well in were way south. You've got to read something into that," Els said. "Maybe we should have a bit more say in where our home matches will go to. Maybe that helps."


October 2, 2007

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