ATLANTA – Much remains unknown about the status of the Presidents Cup teams as the PGA Tour season winds down and amid reports that at least seven more members will join LIV Golf following the conclusion of the Tour Championship.
Automatic qualifying for the teams ended last week at the BMW Championship, with the U.S. squad (six players) and the International side (eight) beginning to fill out their respective rosters.
The International team hasn’t won a Presidents Cup since 1998, and the visitors, captained by Trevor Immelman, were already depleted following the defections of Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz, all of whom were promptly suspended by the Tour for joining the rival league and ruled ineligible for the biennial competition. There also have been published reports that Cameron Smith, the world No. 2 and reigning Open champion, will bolt for the Saudi-backed circuit after this week’s Tour Championship.
The American side hasn’t been hit nearly as hard with defections, though Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau all represented the U.S. at last fall’s Ryder Cup and now are ineligible.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Tour Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan dismissed concerns that this year’s competition at Quail Hollow would be affected by the weakened rosters, citing the landscape in professional golf in which “there’s never been as much depth as we see” now.
“I think both captains and both teams recognize that there’s a next-man-up philosophy. They’re prepared for that,” Monahan said, before adding: “I think we’re going to have an awesome competition, and I think that the depth that both teams have, both captains are very comfortable with.”
Though not LIV-related, U.S. captain Davis Love III received unfortunate news Tuesday when Will Zalatoris – ranked No. 7 in the points standings – announced that he’d miss the competition because of two herniated disks in his back.