Greg Norman seeking change in Presidents Cup format

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MELBOURNE, Australia — The International team trailed 4-2 after the opening session in the Presidents Cup and never caught up. That’s how it was two years ago at Harding Park, in 2007 at Royal Montreal.

The International team, captained by Greg Norman (right), lost 19-15 to the Fred Couples' U.S. squad.   Associated Press
Associated Press
The International team, captained by Greg Norman (right), lost 19-15 to the Fred Couples' U.S. squad.

International captain Greg Norman believes it’s time for a change.

Norman said if he could change anything about the Presidents Cup, it would be to give the host team the option of deciding the schedule of play, and giving the International side four captain’s picks instead of two.

“We do get our cage rattled a little bit in the foursomes match,” Norman said after the Americans won the cup for the fourth consecutive time. “And it does rattle us because we don’t like getting beaten. ... What’s wrong with the host nation having the choice of format, anyway?”

That’s how it’s done in the Ryder Cup, which effectively pits the PGA Tour against the European Tour.

Foursomes – or alternate shot – has been the leadoff session every time since 1998 at the Presidents Cup, and it’s a format that has clearly favored the Americans in recent years.

They have won 25½ points out of 33 foursomes matches dating to 2007, including 8-3 this year. Norman believes if the fourballs session were first, perhaps the International team could gain some confidence.

ALLENBY BLANKED: No one looked more solemn among the International team than Robert Allenby, who made it into the Presidents Cup record book twice this week for all the wrong reasons.

Allenby was the only player on either team who failed to contribute a point.

He was a captain’s pick by Norman because of his success on the sand belt courses, particularly Royal Melbourne. Instead, Allenby joined John Huston in 1998 – also at Royal Melbourne –as captain’s picks who were shut out.

POINTS RECORD: Phil Mickelson, the only player to compete in every Presidents Cup since it began in 1994, set the record for most points won on either team with his opening foursomes win. Mickelson ended the week with 23 career points.

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