28 Sep 2011

Wildcard selections named for Presidents Cup

6:42 pm on 28 September 2011

Tiger Woods and Bill Haas have been named on a powerful United States golf team for this year's Presidents Cup while the Australian pair of Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley filled the two International places as the rival captains revealed their wildcard selections.

The American team's non-playing captain Fred Couples had already announced he was reserving one of his two spots for Woods while Haas provided a compelling case for his inclusion on the 12-man roster by winning last weekend's season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta and the 10 million dollar bonus as FedExCup points champion.

Norman also kept true to his pledge that he wanted two of his countrymen with experience of playing the tricky Royal Melbourne Golf Club layout where the Ryder Cup-style competition will be contested in mid November.

He gave the nod to the two Australians ahead of last year's British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa and Fijian former world number one Vijay Singh to bolster a lineup already overflowing with talent.

The addition of Baddeley and Allenby boosts the Australian contingent on the International squad to five with Jason Day and Adam Scott, the joint runners-up at this year's Masters, and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy having already earned automatic selection.

No player will be under more scrutiny or pressure than Woods, who has seen his ranking and form plunge since his last tournament win, in Australia two years ago, while trying to rebuild his golf swing and private life following the breakup of his marriage.

The former-world number one has played on every U.S. Presidents Cup team since 1998 but has not won a tournament since the 2009 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath, located on the same reknowned Melbourne Sandbelt as the Presidents Cup course.

The 14-time major winner failed to qualify for the PGA Tour playoffs after missing the cut at the PGA Championship and, at Couples' urging, will return to action next week at a Fall Series tournament in California to sharpen his game before heading Down Under for the Australian Open then the Presidents Cup.