International captain Trevor Immelman names 5 rookies to Presidents Cup team

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With his team decimated by defections, International Presidents Cup captain Trevor Immelman will rely on some new faces later this month at Quail Hollow.

Five of Immelman’s six wildcard picks announced Tuesday are rookies, with Taylor Pendrith, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cam Davis, K.H. Lee and Sebastian Munoz all slated to make their debuts in the biennial matches. Si Woo Kim, who played his only Presidents Cup in 2017, was also named to the team.

Overall, eight of the 12 International players are first-timers.

Immelman’s number of captain’s picks increased last week from four to six after leading points-getter Cameron Smith and fellow top-20 player Joaquin Niemann left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Those players were promptly suspended by the Tour and ruled ineligible for the Presidents Cup. Already out of the mix were Abraham Ancer, Louis Oosthuizen and Carlos Ortiz, who likely would have made the team but decided to join LIV.

This group of wildcard picks join a roster that includes Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Tom Kim, Corey Conners, Adam Scott and Mito Pereira. The matches begin Sept. 22.

Even though nearly all of the captain’s picks are newcomers in the Presidents Cup, Kim, Lee, Davis and Munoz each have won on the PGA Tour. Bezuidenhout finished second at the John Deere Classic this summer and Pendrith returned from a rib injury to post seven top-15s in eight starts.

Left off the team were Erik Van Rooyen, who was No. 8 in the updated standings but had played sparingly this summer because of a neck injury and missed five consecutive cuts. Also passed over were big-hitting New Zealander Ryan Fox and Canadian Adam Hadwin, who had made the past two cup teams.

The Internationals own a 1-11-1 record in the event, its lone victory coming in 1998 at Royal Melbourne. In the last cup, in 2019, the Internationals held the lead heading into Sunday singles before the Americans, captained by Tiger Woods, staged a late rally to win by two points.

U.S. captain Davis Love III will finalize his team on Wednesday, and the Americans are once again expected to be heavy favorites.

“We’ll be representing underdogs all over the world,” Immelman said.

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