DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) - Beaten but unbowed after a grueling week that ended in defeat, Nick Price said he would love another chance to captain the International team at the Presidents Cup.
His first assignment in charge ended in failure on Sunday when his team was beaten by a powerful American side that played at the peak of their powers.
But the Zimbabwean said the disappointment of defeat had only whetted his appetite for more and he would happily take on the job again.
“This was just a phenomenal week for all of us and I want to congratulate the U.S. team. They played golf that was just incredible to watch,” Price said.
“They combined well, but for this team, I would be honored if they ever asked me to be captain of this team again, don’t care where it is.”
As a player, Price competed in five Presidents Cups but said none of those experiences had prepared him for the unique challenges he faced as captain.
His team, which comprised players from six different countries, only came together for this first time this week and Price’s prime role of trying to match the best combinations was made even more difficult because of torrential rain during the tournament.
The heavy downpours caused havoc with the schedule and forced a backlog of matches. With tournament organizers forced to make up time, the players had to arrive at the Muirfield Village Golf Club before dawn and stay until after dusk.
“Of all The Presidents Cups I’ve been involved in, this was probably the hardest because of the weather conditions,” Price said.
“These guys got out of bed 4:30 the last two mornings. Come play 36 holes yesterday in very sloppy conditions, and again today played, what, 25, 27 holes.”
With some players having to be involved in as many as three separate matches on the same day, Price and the American captain Fred Couples were then left with the task of choosing their pairings while matches were still in progress.
“The hardest part was trying to figure out the pairings. I felt like I didn’t have enough time,” he said.
“It’s the same for Fred, so that’s no excuse. But I think Fred may have had a little experience in that as well ahead of me.”
The Internationals trailed the Americans from the outset and facing the almost impossible task of needing to win 10 of the 12 singles matches on Sunday to clinch the title.
No team had ever come from behind to win on the last day and it was a feat that proved beyond the Internationals, although they gave it good shake before eventually losing 18-1/2 points to 15-1/2.
Price defended his decision not to pair Masters Champion Adam Scott of Australia with Tiger Woods, in what would have been a head-to-head clash between the top two-ranked players in the world, saying his main objective was to think of what was best for the team.
Scott won his match against Bill Haas to close the gap on the Americans but Woods clinched it for the home team when he beat Richard Sterne in a later match.
“I did my pairings this morning to try and win the Cup, not to put 1 or 2 together or 3 or 5 or whatever,” he said.
“It’s very hard to hide what your intentions are when you have to do that, because if I wanted to put all the guys who are playing the best out first, who had played the strongest this week, to get some momentum for the guys at the back end, after I put two or three names down, Fred knew exactly what I was doing.”
Reporting by Julian Linden