Els names rookies Im, Niemann in Presidents Cup captain's picks

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US captain Tiger Woods made Lehi resident Tony Finau his first pick on Thursday in completing the team for next month's Presidents Cup golf competition in Australia.

But Woods, the captain of team U.S., said on Friday that he had picked himself among four discretionary picks - Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland - to complete his 12-man outfit.

However, Els said he was confident his debutants would be ready for the challenge at the December 12-15 event, which pits an worldwide team representing the rest of the world minus Europe against the Americans.

Day has dropped to world No.27 after a winless year and has a poor Presidents Cup record of five wins and 11 losses.

Woods' selections bolster the statistical advantage the Americans will have next month, with all four picks ranked higher in the world than the highest-ranked global player, No. 17 Adam Scott.

Els also named former world No. 1 Jason Day to the team. That debate abruptly ended two weeks ago when Woods turned back the clock with a dominating wire-to-wire victory at the Zozo Championship in his first start of the season.

Woods left the door ajar on whether or not the Americans would add an additional vice-captain to Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson given his own selection.

Els and the Internationals players welcomed the prospect of 15-times major champion Woods returning to Royal Melbourne, where he rolled in the winning putt in the 2011 tournament.


"Freddie was pretty ardent". He said he could play more depending on what the team needs. "'You're on the team, quit being stupid.' At the time, I haven't even swung a club", Woods said.

"It's going to help me more to focus and try to beat him".

"But I just have to play one match (minimum) before singles.so it's about me getting an understanding of the guys and an understanding of the course. for all of us to see how it fits". Cantlay, Schauffele and Woodland are the only players who have never competed in a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup.

The 32-year-old can now check it off his list after global captain Ernie Els named him one of four captain's picks on Wednesday night.

"If I had a chance to play him I think it's going to give me more excitement to win the match, more energy", said Niemann.

He finished ninth in the US standings for the Presidents Cup at the cutoff point, the BMW Championship in August, when eight players became automatic qualifiers: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau. "And I find it interesting talking in the third person". Steve Stricker led that American team to a dominating 19-11 victory, surprising nearly nobody.

"I do think he will pick himself, I don't think he has any choice", he said.

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