JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Adam Scott heads into his eighth Presidents Cup this week cautiously optimistic that the International team can end the US stranglehold on the trophy.
No one is more familiar with the frustrations the Internationals have faced in the biennial match play tournament. In Scott’s seven prior appearances, his team have come away with one draw in 2003 and six straight defeats.
But Scott says a one-point loss in South Korea two years ago was an indication that the tide might be turning.
“I think the optimism is growing,” Scott said as both teams prepared for Thursday’s tee-off at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
“These guys are buzzing. They really wanted to be on this team, and that’s the feeling.”
Scott said that’s new for an International team, whose efforts in the Presidents Cup have long been overshadowed by the venerable USA-Europe Ryder Cup rivalry.
The fact that the Internationals have mustered just one victory, in 1998, hasn’t helped.
“We were just pretty much overlooked quickly, and Ryder Cup and Europe and Team USA were what was talked about,” Scott said, noting that made it even harder to build a cohesive International team of players from such disparate backgrounds.
The return of Nick Price for a third term as captain has added to the team’s stability, and the glimpse offered of what might be possible in Incheon has impassioned International players, Scott said.
“I think even though we didn’t win, we made a bit of a statement, at least to ourselves and at least to the rest of the International players about how important it is,” Scott said. “These guys have been busting it for two years to get on this team.”
Scott himself is an elder statesman. Since his Presidents Cup debut in 2003, he has won the Masters and spent time atop the world rankings.
“I didn’t really know what was going on in ’03,” he said. “But now I’ve played so much, and it seems a bit of my role in the last couple of Cups has been to be a bit of a team-room player for the guys, and just make sure everyone is feeling comfortable.
“I think it’s important that someone takes a position, a bit of a vocal position, not just the captains, and voice the opinion of the team and what’s important.
“I’ve been fairly happy to fill that role the last couple of years.”