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Presidents Cup teams announced

Jack Nicklaus opted for form and youth while Gary Player went for match play experience when naming their captain's picks on Monday for next month's Presidents Cup in Canada.

Nicklaus chose Lucas Glover and Hunter Mahan as his wildcard selections for the U.S. team while Player went for Australia's Nick O'Hern and Canadian Mike Weir to round off his 12-man International line-up.

Glover and left-hander O'Hern were widely expected to be included after being next in line for selection according to the final Presidents Cup standings.

The 25-year-old Mahan, 14th in the U.S. Cup rankings, has been one of the game's hottest players over the last two months with three top-10s on the PGA Tour since winning his maiden title at the Travelers Championship in June.

Although Weir languished in 20th place in the Internationals pecking order, he was a likely candidate for Player as Canada's premier golfer and a prime mover in the Cup being held north of the U.S. border for the first time.

"Mike is a very good match player and, even though he didn't get in the top 10, it's a different story when you are playing matchplay," Player said of the 2003 Masters champion in a teleconference call.

"He's a fighter and I have great confidence in him. If we didn't have a Canadian in my team, I can assure you the series would be quite flat among the Canadian people. Mike is a hero his country and deservingly so."

The 37-year-old Weir, a seven-times PGA Tour winner, has played in the last three Presidents Cups.

O'Hern, one of the best putters in the world, will make his second appearance in the team competition and is renowned for having beaten Tiger Woods twice at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, in 2005 and again this year.

Nicklaus said he he had decided on younger blood for his two captain's picks because his more experienced candidates had not been in form in recent months.

"Lucas has been in the top 10 for the last two years and only with Woody Austin's finish yesterday did it bump him out," Nicklaus said, referring to Austin's runner-up spot behind Woods in the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

"Hunter has come a long way in the last year. He has finished in the top 20 in the last three majors, including sixth in the British Open. If there is a young player who has played better in the last six months, I don't know who it is."

The seventh Presidents Cup will be held from Sept. 27-30 at Royal Montreal Golf Club.

The U.S. have dominated the team competition, winning four times including a thrilling victory in 2005 by 18-1/2 points to 15-1/2 in Lake Manassas, Virginia.

The only success for the Internationals came in 1998 when the event was staged in Melbourne. In 2003, the two teams battled to a 17-17 draw in South Africa.

U.S. team: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III, Scott Verplank, David Toms, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink, Woody Austin, Lucas Glover, Hunter Mahan.

International team: Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Geoff Ogilvy, KJ Choi, Rory Sabbatini, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Angel Cabrera, Stuart Appleby, Nick O'Hern, Mike Weir.

 

August 14, 2007

 




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