Practical joker Johnstone a likely trump Cup card

Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:50pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - He will not hit one shot at next week's Presidents Cup in Dublin, Ohio but the unpredictable and always funny Tony Johnstone could prove to be a trump card in the locker room for Internationals captain Nick Price.

A six-times winner on the European Tour where he was known for his brilliant bunker play and dogged approach to the game, Johnstone will be one of three assistants to fellow Zimbabwean Price in the 10th edition of the biennial team competition.

The Internationals will be striving to improve a dismal record of just one win against the United States since the Cup was launched in 1994 and with Price identifying team spirit and fun as crucial to achieve success, Johnstone is a perfect fit.

"Tony is going to be such an asset to the team," Price, who has known Johnstone since they played junior golf together, told Reuters ahead of the October 3-6 Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

"Ever since I selected him as one of my co-captains, he has been so excited about this. He has phoned me like three times a week. He is just so into it and I love it.

"He's looking at all these stats, and scratching his head and trying to figure out who will be best playing with who. The camaraderie and the energy and the fun that Tony will bring to the team will be fantastic for us."

The two most experienced players on the International roster, Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia and four-times major winner Ernie Els of South Africa, were both delighted to hear of Johnstone's appointment as an assistant.

"Adam was so happy when I first went to him," Price grinned. "He said to me, 'Please tell me that you have got Ovies as an assistant captain.' And I said to him, 'Absolutely'. And Adam just started laughing."   Continued...