Date: May 14, 2009
Author: Sportal

Norman’s selection poser

International captain Greg Norman has identified the period between next month&aposs US Open and late July as the key to selection of his team for October&aposs Presidents Cup. Having played in the event four times since its inception 15 years ago, Norman has taken the reins from South African great Gary Player as the Internationals seek to better a record that has seen them pick up just one win and a tie from seven attempts. And while he believes his United States counterpart Fred Couples has it easier picking two wildcards from those not among the 10 automatic qualifiers, Norman believes his task is more difficult because he has a much bigger talent pool to choose from. “My choice in the two picks I have, mine is really a tough one because my well of information and well of depth of players is so deep compared to America,” Norman said on Wednesday. “I can go anywhere, and I think the International team may be a lot different than a lot of people think. I wish we had more choices, actually. If I had four picks it would be great because it would help me balance out the team a little bit better.” With some tough decisions to be made between now and when the event is contested from October 9-11 at the Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, Norman will be keeping a close eye on results over the next two months. “My learning curve is a lot harder and a lot more intense over the next couple of months, and to me really it&aposs going to be from July, probably the US Open to the end of July is going to be my defining moment of understanding exactly who the 14 are going to be,” Norman added. “I say 14, because I&aposve got maybe 15, I&aposve got to have that number condensed down for my decision, and then I might just do that. And then all of a sudden the last month or two there might be some kid pop up from somewhere and you go, &aposwow, this kid is hot, he&aposs ready to play&apos.” Norman&aposs task isn&apost being made any easier by the enthusiasm of several players to be involved, with some making contact to flag their interest, and he also expects to find it difficult to take a step back and allow his players to strut their stuff during the event. “It&aposs going to be tough because you know how to play,” he said. “You remember how to play. You&aposre going to be in situations, where I might have dealt with that differently but you have to trust the player.” “I&aposm sure those thoughts are going to go through my mind but you have to give them their rein. Their responsibility is to go out there and play the best they can. So you have to sit back and swallow a little bit and just be quiet.” Having enjoyed what he calls a &aposseamless process&apos in the time since he was appointed, Norman believes that once the team comes together his biggest challenge will be to get the players to relax and perform up to their full potential. “I believe the player is the master of his own destiny when he walks on the golf course,” he said. “The responsibility for us is knowing how you like things whenever you went into a major championship.” “My responsibility as a captain is to make sure that all of the peripheral stuff is eliminated from the players so, when they walk into Harding Park it&aposs all about one thing and that&aposs getting to the tee and playing the best golf they can possibly play.” “I know how I like to prepare; I know the creature comforts I like to have around me. And knowing a lot of the players who have won major championships that could potentially be on the International team, they are going to be thinking about the same thing.”