'We gave it a hell of a go' - Els could captain again in 2021

Martin PARRY
Ernie Els acknowledges the crowd after the International Team lost to the US team at Royal Melbourne

Ernie Els said he might be like a crack at being Presidents Cup captain again in 2021 after seeing his young International team fall to an agonising defeat.

The big South African spent months plotting a way to topple the United States for only the second time in Presidents Cup history after playing in the only team to achieve the feat in 1998, also at Royal Melbourne.

He saw enough in the 16-14 loss to Tiger Woods' star-laden Americans to hint about leading again at the next Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow, North Carolina in two years' time.

"We will see ... I'm not sure yet," said Els in the aftermath of a defeat made all the more painful by his side never being behind until the pivotal Sunday singles.

"We'll have to discuss that. There's been a lot of work going in this. I love these guys."

His charges had nothing but praise for the way Els went about his business, schooling them on the treacherous Royal Melbourne course, where he holds the course record.

"He had a system going in. We are his soldiers, so we follow his instruction," said Taiwan's CT Pan of Taiwan, one of seven rookies in the youngest team in Presidents Cup history.

On rankings alone, to run a US team stacked with major champions and top 10 players so close was an achievement not to be overlooked, said Els.

"If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building," said Els.

"But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time."

Adding to the drama was the unforgivingly slick sandbelt region course, acknowledged by both captains as a great test of golf adding to the drama of the matchplay showdown.

The US PGA Tour's Presidents Cup director said that the event had been such a success, with big crowds, that they were comtemplating returning to the venue for a fourth time, possibly as early as 2023, after previously hosting in 1998 and 2011.

"We are already talking with the Victorian (state) government." said Matt Kamienski, who is also a US PGA Tour vice-president, told local media.

"From an overall success standpoint, Royal Melbourne stood the test and it was just a great course. Everyone loved playing it. Hats off to them. It lived up to everything and more," added Kamienski

The players were universal in their praise for the course. "This is the ultimate in golf," said Woods.

"It is like an Open Championship with Augusta greens, it's difficult. It's the way golf should be played -- on the ground, or up in the air if you need to."