The Internationals suffered their fourth successive defeat in the Presidents Cup, and it got the Mole wondering if Greg Norman was to blame.

Management has always been a tough job in sport as the players get the glory for success and the men in charge take the wrap for failure, but in this case there could be a valid reason to point the finger at Greg Norman.

The Mole will never claim captaining the Internationals in the Presidents Cup is an easy job. It has to be tough to get 12 players from all over the globe, playing on several different tours, to instantly gel and play like a team.

But I still can’t help feeling he got a couple of fundamental things wrong.

Obviously hindsight provides 20/20 vision, but the Mole did criticise Norman’s captain’s picks as soon as he made them.

When the Internationals host the tournament the captain’s picks instantly become a matter of national vs international pride. Does the captain pick the most in-form international or do you pick a local pro to garner interest in the home country?

Norman decided to go the latter route, picking Aaron Baddeley and Robert Allenby. Baddeley was a solid pick, he is Australian and was in-form – almost a no-brainer – but Allenby was a very strange pick.

Allenby came into the Presidents Cup having not won a tournament since the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2009 and had missed five cuts on the PGA Tour in 2011.

Needless to say it didn’t turn out very well, Baddeley and Allenby amassed a grand total of 1.5 points between them. And Baddeley earned all of them.

Allenby became the second player in the history of the tournament, after American John Huston, to post an 0-4 record.

At the time the selection was made, the Mole couldn’t help feeling that Vijay Singh would have been a far better pick. The big Fijian almost earned enough points this year to qualify automatically and his experience could have made a big difference. But we’ll never know.

After the tournament Norman was a bit equivocal in his assessment of the Presidents Cup.

"At the end of the day, the Americans kicked our butts," he said.

It would have been good if he’d left it there; but instead he went on to make up some excuses.

Norman suggested that he would like to do away with the foursomes format altogether and argued the host team should have the choice; this after the Internationals basically lost the tournament because of this one discipline.

"It was 8-3 this week. That's the way it's always been in foursomes in the Presidents Cup except for one year," he said.

"What's wrong with the host nation having the choice of the format anyway? It's a win-win for all. I don't see any negative at all."

Norman also suggested that the Internationals be allowed four captain’s picks instead of the usual two. I’m not sure we want to go there after the way his picks performed though.

American Captain Fred Couples hit back immediately saying it just sounded like sour grapes.

"We won this week because we were better players, and I think we have a little motivation, and we teamed well and we won," he said. "I don't know what they would have said if they would have won.

"Everything would have been fair. But we won, and you know, I'm not saying anything bad to Greg.

"I'm just saying, I don't get that. They had 10 players, they got two picks. We got ten players and two picks, and we won."

And the Mole can’t help agreeing with him. If you genuinely have a problem with a certain aspect of something, bring it up before the tournament. Don’t get thrashed and then try change the elements where you fell short.

In the end Norman claimed, "The Presidents Cup is the winner here. I'm very proud of my boys. My team can hold their heads up extremely high. We'll take a lot out of it."

Personally I’m not sure the Presidents Cup won anything at all. The Internationals lost. Again. Frankly it’s getting a bit boring.

Is it fair to blame Norman for the loss? Should the host nation be allowed to choose the format? Did you even bother to wake up early to watch any of the Presidents Cup?

Let me know your thoughts.
 

  • Margie de Kock

    My husband and I also thought Allenby as a pick, was pure bias rather than form. Norman’s speech at the opening ceremony said a lot about who Norman thinks he is !! I think the International team should get together earlier and have a few foursome rounds to acquaint themselves with the strategy needed to play this format. The US guys play College match play and foursomes before they turn pro and are used to the format. I also questioned some of Normans pairings. However ,it is done and dusted for now but I will still be glued to the box the next time around.
    Margie

  • Dick Adcock

    Firstly, let’s acknowledge that the Presidents Cup is a complete non event. It’s completely meaningless to throw together players from Canada and Korea, and expect them to play together with any passion or pride. The Presidents Cup should have been replaced with a bi-annual between South Africa and Australia years ago, with the winners playing the Ryder Cup holders for the ‘world championship’ every second year. Secondly, your comments re Greg Norman are spot on. He panned Fred Couples for picking Woods ahead of PGA winner Bradley, but chose to pick Allenby, one mini major winner years ago, ahead of recent Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, where’s the sense in that. Good on you Louis, since being overlooked five top ten finishes and a fifteen place rise in the world rankings. But then we don’t expect brains from Aussies do we. Dick Adcock, Mossel Bay

  • Hennie

    I think that Greg Captains pick was donebecause the Presidents Cupwas playedin Aussie andhe definately got it wrong as the results show. All he needed was inform players that could have given him three more wins and the cup was his. I do think that the Americans playing in Ryder Cup are mutch better in golf as a team sportbecause it is the same players that form the foundation of the President Cup.

  • Arno

    Norman is not known as the wold’s best sportsman. He obviously went for the max no of Auzzies to make up his team andhis selection of Allenby was looking for disaster as it proved to be in the end. I can think tenplayers in much better form than him.
    When it comes to motivation Norman is also lacking. A captain do not take a player by the shoulders, shake him up,look him in the eye and and give him a pep talkin front of the TV camera’s.This action will do nothing for self confidence. All he had to do was tell the players quietly to relax.
    As far as the rules are concerned he clearly has sour grapes and should not contemplatea proven format decided on from the ourset. If the Internationals fail in the foresomes, it clearly points to the fact that the Captain got his pairings wrong as success in this format is depended how you and your partner gel together.

    Arno

  • Compleat Golfer admin

    Ernie qualified automatically. The qualification criteria is a whole other can of worms.

  • Compleat Golfer admin

    Dear Matthew.

    They lost in 2005, 2007, 2009 and now 2011. If they had lost at Fancourt it would have made it five.

  • Phala Modise

    There is nothing wrong with the Format. The International can practice on the week of the Ryder Cup by playing 16 possible qualifies for the next season’s President cup so that they build team spirit and get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The European Team always have a practice session on the year of the President Cupby playing Europe against UK. The Captain must be limited to two picks and avoid being Nationalistic and be Internationalist. After all this was not Australia VS USA.I think beside VJ others who were consideration were Louis Oosthuizen, Angel Cabrera, or even Camillo Villegas. Limiting his choice to only 2 Australians meant if he four picks he would then brought Appleby and Chamers.

  • Chris

    Foursomes is not golf. It is the same as preferred drives or amercan scramble and not really a geniune challenge.

  • Johan

    The time for qualifying is too long, the points do not reflect current form. Ernie and Allenby should never have played, nor Vijay. How can you pick blokes that can’t putt to play on the slickest greens in recent memory, only Oakmont and Augusta can compare, even Angel would have done better, he has won at Oakmont. The foursomes are tremendous to watch, seldomly seen played apart from Ryder and P/cup. Still we were treated to amazing golf, only in matchplay does one get to see how good these pros really are.

  • Guest

    I think it is time for a new captain. Greg wasn’t strategic enough.

  • Huff

    Woke up slightly earlier than normal, only to watch two South African’s showing the American’s how to play matchplay golf, while the two Aussie ‘youngsters’ were struggling against their opponents on their ‘home’ course? Norman’s pairings were dodgy, the captain’s picks very dodgy and quite frankly the Internationals were lucky Webb Simpson, Bill Haas and Dustin Johnson (arguably their strongest players on tour this year) didn’t wipe the floor with us…

  • Johan Smith

    And what was Ernie doing there? He has had the glory and the game but not anymore the game.

  • James

    Foursomes is a brutal game at the best of times. However, these are meant to be amongst the best pro’s in the world- surely they are best equipped to play foursomes? To moan after the fact is ludicrous. I would also be interested to see what the combined record was of the four Aussies he picked? Your point regaring four wild card picks is well made- he stuffed it up with two, so four could have been a calamity

  • Map Loginet

    Wow, was that this weekend…

  • Trevor

    I couldn’t agre with you more: I think Greg Norman is not a very sporting person as I have heard some comments that he made at a pro Am, and they were not repeatable, not very nice. I doubt whether all his players were that motivated by him.

  • Matthew

    Dear Mole

    2003 was declared a tie (Els/Woods playing nightgolf @ Fancourt) – so not quite 4th successive loss.
    @Fancourt:disqus
    Matt

  • The Truth

    Hi Chris
    Clearly you have not played Foursomes at a competitive level; of all the formats in golf this one puts the most pressure on any player as he has to continuously consider the consequences for his partner of every shot he makes.

  • Grant

    Being clever after the fact is easy but I cannot help but think that Norman made some fundamental errors. Firstly he did not pick Louis. I believe Louis and Charl paired together the whole week would have been very effective and got the International team closer to victory. I also think that Ernie should have been paired with Retief all week. One will never know but Greg’s captaincy is questionable.

  • Doug

    Picking Allenby was a disaster and many golf experts said so before the tournament began. But for me the biggest disappointment was the extremely poor performance of Jason Day who I rate very highly. He and Adam Scott played so well against each other at Charl Schwartzel’s Masters that I figured Norman would give them a pairing … but not the case.

  • Matthew

    Dear Mole

    2003 was declared a tie (Els/Woods playing night golf @ Fancourt) – so not quite 4th successive loss.
    @Fancourt:disqus 
    Matt

    • http://www.ramsaymedia.co.za/ RamsayMedia Admin

      Dear Matthew.

      They lost in 2005, 2007, 2009 and now 2011. If they had lost at Fancourt it would have made it five.

  • Trevor

    I couldn’t agre with you more:  I think Greg Norman is not a very sporting person as I have heard some comments that he made at a pro Am, and they were not repeatable, not very nice.  I doubt whether all his players were that motivated by him.

  • Guest

    Wow, was that this weekend…

  • James

    Foursomes is a brutal game at the best of times. However, these are meant to be amongst the best pro’s in the world- surely they are best equipped to play foursomes? To moan after the fact is ludicrous. I would also be interested to see what the combined record was of the four Aussies he picked? Your point regaring four wild card picks is well made- he stuffed it up with two, so four could have been a calamity 

  • Johan Smith

    And what was Ernie doing there? He has had the glory and the game but not anymore the game.

    • http://www.ramsaymedia.co.za/ RamsayMedia Admin

      Ernie qualified automatically. The qualification criteria is a whole other can of worms.

  • Huff

    Woke up slightly earlier than normal, only to watch two South African’s showing the American’s how to play matchplay golf, while the two Aussie ‘youngsters’ were struggling against their opponents on their ‘home’ course? Norman’s pairings were dodgy, the captain’s picks very dodgy and quite frankly the Internationals were lucky Webb Simpson, Bill Haas and Dustin Johnson (arguably their strongest players on tour this year) didn’t wipe the floor with us…

  • Guest

    I think it is time for a new captain. Greg wasn’t strategic enough. 

  • Johan

    The time for qualifying is too long, the points do not reflect current form. Ernie and Allenby should never have played, nor Vijay. How can you pick blokes that can’t putt to play on the slickest greens in recent memory, only Oakmont and Augusta can compare, even Angel would have done better, he has won at Oakmont. The foursomes are tremendous to watch, seldomly seen played apart from Ryder and P/cup. Still we were treated to amazing golf, only in matchplay does one get to see how good these pros really are.

  • Chris

    Foursomes is not golf. It is the same as preferred drives or amercan scramble and not really a geniune challenge.

    • The Truth

      Hi Chris
      Clearly you have not played Foursomes at a competitive level; of all the formats in golf this one puts the most pressure on any player as he has to continuously consider the consequences for his partner of every shot he makes. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phala-Modise/100000969658963 Phala Modise

    There is nothing wrong with the Format. The International can practice on the week of the Ryder Cup by playing 16 possible qualifies for the next season’s President cup so that they build team spirit and get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The European Team always have a practice session on the year of the President Cup by playing Europe against UK. The Captain must be limited to two picks and avoid being Nationalistic and be Internationalist. After all this was not Australia VS USA. I think beside VJ others who were consideration were Louis Oosthuizen, Angel Cabrera, or even Camillo Villegas. Limiting his choice to only 2 Australians meant if he four picks he would then brought Appleby and Chamers.  

  • Arno

    Norman is not known as the wold’s best sportsman.  He obviously went for the max no of Auzzies to make up his team and his selection of Allenby was looking for disaster as it proved to be in the end. I can think ten players in much better form than him. 
    When it comes to motivation Norman is also lacking. A captain do not take a player by the shoulders, shake him up, look him in the eye and and give him a pep talk in front of the TV camera’s. This action will do nothing for self confidence. All he had to do was tell the players quietly to relax.
    As far as the rules are concerned he clearly has sour grapes and should not contemplate a proven format decided on from the ourset. If the Internationals fail in the foresomes, it clearly points to the fact that the Captain got his pairings wrong as success in this format is depended how you and your partner gel together.   

    Arno

  • Hennie

    I think that Greg Captains pick was done because the Presidents Cup was played in Aussie and he definately got it wrong as the results show. All he needed was inform players that could have given him three more wins and the cup was his. I do think that the Americans playing in Ryder Cup are mutch better in golf as a team sport because it is the same players that form the foundation of the President Cup.

  • Dick Adcock

    Firstly, let’s acknowledge that the Presidents Cup is a complete non event. It’s completely meaningless to throw together players from Canada and Korea, and expect them to play together with any passion or pride. The Presidents Cup should have been replaced with a bi-annual between South Africa and Australia years ago, with the winners playing the Ryder Cup holders for the ‘world championship’ every second year. Secondly, your comments re Greg Norman are spot on. He panned Fred Couples for picking Woods ahead of PGA winner Bradley, but chose to pick Allenby, one mini major winner years ago, ahead of recent Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, where’s the sense in that. Good on you Louis, since being overlooked five top ten finishes and a fifteen place rise in the world rankings. But then we don’t expect brains from Aussies do we. Dick Adcock, Mossel Bay

  • Margie de Kock

    My husband and I also thought Allenby as a pick, was pure bias rather than form. Norman’s speech at the opening ceremony said a lot about who Norman thinks he is !! I think the International team should get together earlier and have a few foursome rounds to acquaint themselves with the strategy needed to play this format. The US guys play College match play and foursomes before they turn pro and are used to the format. I also questioned some of Normans pairings. However ,it is done and dusted for now but I will still be glued to the box the next time around.
    Margie

  • Doug

    Picking Allenby was a disaster and many golf experts said so before the tournament began. But for me the biggest disappointment was the extremely poor performance of Jason Day who I rate very highly. He and Adam Scott played so well against each other at Charl Schwartzel’s Masters that I figured Norman would give them a pairing … but not the case.

  • Grant

    Being clever after the fact is easy but I cannot help but think that Norman made some fundamental errors. Firstly he did not pick Louis. I believe Louis and Charl paired together the whole week would have been very effective and got the International team closer to victory. I also think that Ernie should have been paired with Retief all week. One will never know but Greg’s captaincy is questionable.

  • Darryl

    Greg Norman got it all wrong. He has in fact snubbed the rest of the world and their golfing heroes from the captains picks to the vice captain. One wonders if ever (since Gary Player did the same) great players like Nick Price, Mark McNulty and a plethora of other international stars will get a look in at being part of the event. Nick and Mark must feel really out in the coal. Greg Norman’s Aussie bias made the event excruciating for the rest of the golfing world to watch.

  • Darryl

    Greg Norman got it all wrong.  He has in fact snubbed the rest of the world and their golfing heroes from the captains picks to the vice captain.  One wonders if ever (since Gary Player did the same) great players like Nick Price, Mark McNulty and a plethora of other international stars will get a look in at being part of the event.  Nick and Mark must feel really out in the coal.  Greg Norman’s Aussie bias made the event excruciating for the rest of the golfing world to watch.

  • Johns

    Norman is an arrogant prick. The sooner he goes into hibernation the better for all.

  • Clifford

    I agree that Greg got it wrong with Allenby and Els as they are both not on form. What about George Coetzee, Thonchai Jaidee to name but a few. The format has not changed, so for Greg to complain is really unsportsman lik.

  • Johns

    Norman is an arrogant prick. The sooner he goes into hibernation the better for all.

  • Clifford

    I agree that Greg got it wrong with Allenby and Els as they are both not on form. What about George Coetzee, Thonchai Jaidee to name but a few. The format has not changed, so for Greg to complain is really unsportsman lik.