Price banks on fast start after fourball concession

Wed Oct 2, 2013 7:25pm EDT
 
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Not much has gone right for the Internationals at the Presidents Cup over the last decade but their new captain Nick Price is aiming to change that after winning a valuable concession for the first day of competition.

For the first time since the 1996 edition of the biennial team competition, the opening session will feature fourball matches instead of the alternate-shot format, which has so often been an Achilles heel for the Internationals.

Price, a veteran of five Presidents Cups as a player, knows how significant it is for teams to make a fast start as the Internationals seek to beat the United States for only the second time since the Cup was launched in 1994.

"The start is really important, obviously," Zimbabwean Price told reporters after he and his opposite number Fred Couples had announced their pairings for Thursday's opening fourball matches at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

"There are six points out (to win) tomorrow, and in the past, it's been alternate-shot, foursomes, on the first day, which I think is the hardest format by far.

"And because of the dynamics of our team and where they all come from, it's very difficult to put a great foursomes pairing together right from the get-go. It's wonderful that they changed to the better ball tomorrow."

Price has seven Presidents Cup rookies from five different countries in his 12-man lineup, including 21-year-old Japanese Hideki Matsuyama who speaks very little English and is a newcomer to team play in golf.

"I don't think Hideki Matsuyama has ever played golf with a partner before, so this is new ground for him," said Price, who represented the Internationals in Melbourne in 1998 when the U.S. were beaten and in South Africa in 2003 when the trophy was shared.   Continued...

 
International Team captain Nick Price of Zimbabwe carries a two-way radio during the second practice round for the 2013 Presidents Cup golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes