Date: August 05, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies in Cup hot seat

Marc Leishman is solid, John Senden is clinging and Steve Bowditch needs to make his move.

That’s pretty much the summary of Australia’s Presidents Cup hopefuls as the countdown to International team selection nears one month to go.

With 10 automatic berths, based on world rankings, finalised on September 7, Jason Day and Adam Scott will lead a squad that has suddenly found the form that could push the powerhouse American team in Incheon, Korea, from October 8-11.

Open Championship runners-up Leishman (6) and Louis Oosthuizen (3) join immensely talented Japanese Hideki Matsuyama (4) and South African Branden Grace (5) as those looking all but immune from the vagaries of rankings surges.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (7), 2011 Masters hero Charl Schwartzel (8), Indian sensation Anirban Lahiri (9) and Senden (10) are all in the hot seat in the current mix with world rankings between 38 and 54 before this week’s World Golf Championship in Ohio.

Senden, who has narrowly missed selection more than once, has set it as one of his 2015 goals, so will need a couple of strong finishes this month or again put himself at the mercy of captain Nick Price’s two selections.

Immediately outside the top 10 is  Byeong-Hun An, who has slowly slid since his BMW PGA Championship win in England this year, but will be a likely selection for Price as the Korean will generate huge local support.

Bowditch, winner of the Byron Nelson Championship this year and prominent for much of The Open, sits 12th but only just clear of two recent winners, Danny Lee and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Lee, in particular, is an interesting proposition for Price. The Kiwi’s win at the recent Greenbrier Classic gave him claims on a captain’s pick, but his Korean background might be the tipping point.

Disappointingly for the host country, both Sangmoon Bae (ranked 111) and Seungyul Noh (130) have fallen off the radar.

The American team is also taking shape with Jordan Spieth its rankings leader from Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and Open champ Zach Johnson.

Dustin Johnson, Jim Furyk, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Chris Kirk and Matt Kuchar are ranked 5-10, while in-form Charley Hoffman and J.B. Holmes  are on the fringe.

Interestingly, Phil Mickelson has slid to No.36 in the American rankings and barring some massive result in the next month, he could miss his first ever Presidents Cup.

On current rankings, the American team would feature four players — Fowler, Kirk, Walker and Holmes – never to have played in a Presidents Cup, yet all bar Kirk have Ryder Cup experience.