When Walter Bingham completely dismissed the value of
the Presidents Cup (Golf Plus, Sept. 4), I concluded that he
didn't understand the importance of exposing a global audience to
golf at that level. How can the Presidents Cup be anything but a
positive when fans in places such as Australia, Japan and South
Africa can watch their native heroes challenge, and perhaps
defeat, the best U.S. players?
I remember the normally laid-back Fred Couples leaped into the
air and high-fived his teammates after draining a long birdie
putt to beat Vijay Singh and clinch the U.S. victory at the 1996
match. Moments later I was in the International team cottage,
where we bared our souls about the value of representing our
countries and began to prepare for the rematch in 1998 in my
homeland, Australia. There we achieved our dream, handing the
Americans their worst loss ever in a team event (20 1/2-11 1/2).
Sure, several of the International players live in the U.S., but
that doesn't diminish the thrill of representing our native
lands. Also, I don't buy Bingham's argument that the American
players aren't interested. After making that putt in '96,
Couples told me, "I've never reacted like that in my life." Two
years ago Jack Nicklaus, the U.S. captain, said, "The
opportunity is there for the Presidents Cup to be even bigger
[than the Ryder Cup]."
When the fourth Presidents Cup is held in a week outside
Washington, D.C., there will be hundreds of reporters from
around the world and an enormous international TV audience.
That's why I'm grinding hard to rehabilitate my right hip. (I
had surgery in August to repair the hip socket.) Like my
countrymates at the Olympics in Sydney, I can't wait to hear
Advance Australia Fair, the national anthem, cheer on my mates
and prove again that the Internationals are golf's best.
October 15, 2000
Steve Elkington has an 8-4-3 record in three Presidents Cups.