CHARLOTTE, NC: What the world of professional golf will look like when the next Presidents Cup takes place in Montreal in two years is unclear as the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series vie for structure Sport.
This messy feud had a direct impact on this year’s event at Quail Hollow Club, depriving the American and international teams of the services of the best players who had left for the circuit on breakaways.
Without the vast pool of talent available to U.S. captain Davis Love III, the international squad was particularly hard hit as the Americans clinched the gold trophy for the ninth consecutive time on Sunday with a 17-1/2 win at 12-1/2.
But that dispute may have provided an unexpected opportunity that could pay dividends in 2024 with international captain Trevor Immelman forced to bleed new players into the Presidents Cup pressure cooker.
Immelman was pushed into a late squad overhaul after losing talents like British Open champion and world number two Cameron Smith of Australia, Chilean Joaquín Niemann and South African Louis Oosthuizen, who were suspended by the PGA Tour for signing with LIV.
This resulted in the international team arriving in Charlotte with a Presidents Cup record eight debutants on their 12-man roster against a powerhouse American roster that included nine players in the top 15 of the world rankings.
Canadians Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith, Colombian Sebastian Munoz, Australian Cam Davis, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Chile’s Mito Pereira and South Koreans Kim Joo-hyung and KH Lee all received baptisms under fire .
“It’s just the beginning for this team, really,” Australian Adam Scott said. “I think you see a lot of guys here who will come back on the next one.
“I think Team USA is really going to put up a hell of a fight.”
One player the international team predicts big things for is 20-year-old Kim Joo-hyung, also known as Tom Kim.
The Presidents Cup was the coming out party for the charismatic and extremely talented South Korean, who exudes a charisma and magnetism that has even helped him attract American fans.
The youngest player on the pitch, Kim impressed with his fearlessness and playfulness, providing the spark that energized his teammates.
“This young lad has burst onto the scene over the past six months, he’s been a tremendous gift to our sport,” Immelman said. “He has the ability to be a global superstar.
“We’ve seen he’s got the game but what I’ve learned about his personality and his heart and what he stands for this week, man, I’m a huge fan.”
“I first met him in person at the Open this year on the 4th hole of the Old Course, and he immediately impressed me.
“He’s just wired different.”