Tiger Woods and Ernie Els to duel at 2019 Presidents Cup

Tiger Woods

Two people involved in the Presidents Cup tell The Associated Press that Woods and Els have agreed to be captains for the 2019 matches in Melbourne.

Woods takes over from Steve Stricker who led the 2017 USA Presidents Cup team to an emphatic win late previous year in New Jersey. The Presidents Cup has been reduced to 30 matches over four days, and the format is not likely to change for the next one. He is slated to be a vice captain at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, too.

Woods and Els have been locked in battle for many years, with Els finishing runner-up to Woods seven times in the majors (the most of any player), but none more so than at the 2003 Presidents Cup when the scores were tied at 17-17 in South Africa, the home nation of Els.

Els was the logical choice to be the next global captain, following three stints by Nick Price.

Els, a four-time major victor, takes over from Nick Price who has guided the Internationals at the last three Presidents Cups. It would give the underdog Internationals a better chance for their first victory since 1998. Woods has played on eight Presidents Cup teams, although not since 2013. "We never have the depth in our team, so we always struggle eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, sort of".

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With Woods as the captain, has he given up any hope of making the team on his own merit?

Woods and Els are expected to be introduced as captains Tuesday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. The rules then were for a player from each team to have his name placed in an envelope, and they would play sudden-death to decide the Presidents Cup.

The 2019 matches will be December 12-15 at Royal Melbourne, the latest the Presidents Cup has been played.

Woods, who was an assistant captain last year when sidelined with back problems and will fill a similar position this year when the United States take on Europe in the Ryder Cup in France, could find himself filling the role of playing the captain in Australia. "He likes to have a direction and loves to take off with that and be successful".