The only time the U.S. has gone down to defeat in seven Presidents Cups was a 20½--11½ drubbing in 1998, when the event took place Down Under, in Melbourne. That match was held in December, the start of summer in Australia as well as the middle of the off-season for most American pros, who were less than enthused about making the long trip. "The players did not want to go to Melbourne," says Jack Nicklaus, who captained the lifeless U.S. side. Will the Americans be more excited in 2011, when the event returns to Royal Melbourne? Stewart Cink thinks so. "The Presidents Cup has elevated itself," he says. "It's more meaningful now, and the players care more about it. Sure, the dates"—in late November or early December, according to Tour commissioner Tim Finchem—"are a possible issue, but we'll figure out how to avoid a problem."
Nicklaus is famous for threatening to retire and then never doing so, but he and Gary Player, his International counterpart, sounded as if they're ready to step down after holding the job for three straight Presidents Cups. "I don't want to be piggish, and I'm sure Gary feels the same way," said Nicklaus. Player seconded that, saying, "It's time for somebody else."
Possible U.S. candidates for 2009, when the match will be held at Harding Park in San Francisco, include Tom Watson, whose friend Sandy Tatum spearheaded Harding's restoration. For the Internationals, Nick Price or popular assistant captain Ian Baker-Finch are thought to be the front-runners, although former International captain Peter Thomson nominated Greg Norman. "I hope one day [Norman] will be captain," Thomson said. "He was a giant figure in the game for so long."
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