‘Brutally difficult’: Trevor Immelman talks Presidents Cup headaches caused by LIV Golf
Trevor Immelman has spent years planning for next month’s Presidents Cup — the uniforms, the accommodations, the team-building, deciding on assistant captains — yet he never expected to have so many unanswered questions regarding who will actually be on his team.
The arrival of LIV Golf and its several signees away from the PGA Tour have disrupted the golf world and given Immelman, the International team Presidents Cup captain, and U.S. captain Davis Love III, unanticipated headaches. The PGA Tour said LIV Golf defectors would not be eligible for the Presidents Cup, which is Sept. 23-25 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., which has led to uncertainty among the rosters.
“It’s been a giant pain in my ass, Colt,” Immelman said on this week’s GOLF Subpar Podcast, speaking to co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz about the distraction LIV Golf has caused. “There’s no other way to put it. It’s been brutally difficult in many ways. Not just for the Presidents Cup, but because I’m a member of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour and it’s been tough to see my sport get divided over the past year. From a Presidents Cup standpoint, it’s made it uber-tricky.”
The automatic qualifiers for both Presidents Cup rosters were finalized on Sunday, but players like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka won’t be eligible to be captain’s picks for the U.S. squad. The same goes for Abraham Ancer on the International team.
The No. 2-ranked player in the world is still somewhat of a question mark. Cameron Smith, the top-ranked player on the International roster, has been rumored as an upcoming LIV Golf defector. And although he hasn’t confirmed any reports himself, he hasn’t exactly put an end to them, either.
Immelman said simple captain’s tasks such as which players to put on posters in the team room have been difficult. What if they aren’t there?
“It’s been tough, man. I wish I could tell you it was over. It’s not over,” he said. “I’m working the phones like crazy trying to learn as much as I can learn speaking to players, caddies, agents, you name it, just trying to get a good idea of where we are going to be.”
Immelman said this isn’t a problem only for the International team, though.
“It’s not great, and it’s not been great for Davis (Love) either, to be honest with you,” he said. “Him and I were just talking yesterday; he’s got a couple of guys he’s concerned about as well, as me, and it just puts us in a tough spot and puts the tournament in a tough spot. In a lot of ways I feel bad for the Harris family (Johnny Harris is the president of Quail Hollow Club), I feel bad for Quail Hollow and Charlotte, because they have gone all out. This event is going to be incredible. It’s going to be spectacular. The build up, ticket sales are through the roof, the hospitality is sold out. It’s going to be so amazing this event. So I just hope we get the right players to pitch up.”
You can listen to Immelman’s entire podcast appearance below, in which he talks replacing Nick Faldo in the booth, his Masters victory, hanging out with Ernie Els and more.