Tiger Woods to return to Australia as Presidents Cup captain

Tiger Woods

Woods' long-time rival Ernie Els will lead the worldwide team at Royal Melbourne, nearly certainly containing the likes of Australia's Jason Day.

Woods is at $11 to win at Augusta next month, alongside Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, with the quartet trailing only Dustin Johnson who is the $8 favourite.

Woods and Els have been locked in battle for many years, with Els finishing runner-up to Woods seven times in the majors (the most of any player), but none more so than at the 2003 Presidents Cup when the scores were tied at 17-17 in South Africa, the home nation of Els.

The development first was reported by the blog Morning Read.

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Captains alone will not change the outcome, a position that former worldwide captains Greg Norman and Nick Price have expressed.

File this one under "things we never thought we'd see" - Tiger Woods, US team captain. The late Arnold Palmer was the most recent player-captain in the Ryder Cup, in 1963, when he went 4-2-0 in a 23-9 American victory at East Lake in Atlanta. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the captain selections have not been announced. One person with knowledge of the decision said Woods reached out to the PGA Tour about his interest in being the next captain.

"The Presidents Cup is owned by the PGA Tour, but we have to be more in control", said Els. When asked last month about being named as an assistant to Furyk in this year's Ryder Cup, Woods hinted at being a player-captain. Els had to make from 6 feet to match him. After three extra holes between the two nominated players failed to break the deadlock, and with daylight fading fast, team captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player agreed to share the cup. That includes twice in the majors, though Woods won those by 15 shots (2000 U.S. Open) and eight shots (2000 British Open).

So, expect some type of format change to reduce the number of points from 30 and minimize the American depth, plus perhaps other tweaks for which Els has lobbied. Hale Irwin is the only playing captain in the Presidents Cup, at the inaugural matches in 1994.

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