American team might be caught napping at Presidents Cup

(Reuters) - The American Presidents Cup team might literally be caught napping when they take on the International side at Royal Melbourne in December.

All but one of the players currently in the U.S. team will play the Tiger Woods-hosted Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the week before.

Even though the exclusive 18-man Bahamas event in Albany will finish on Saturday to accommodate the long trip, the Americans will not arrive in Australia until Monday morning, three days before the start of the biennial event on Dec. 12.

Local time at Royal Melbourne will be 16 hours ahead of Bahamian time.

The bulk of the Hero Challenge field was announced on Wednesday, and includes confirmed Presidents Cup players Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau.

World number one Brooks Koepka is the only player in the American Presidents Cup team not competing in the Hero Challenge.

By contrast, none of the International players will be in the Bahamas and many are taking part in the Australian Open in Sydney.

Woods will captain the American team. He still has four wildcard picks to complete his line-up, and he could use one on himself. Others likely to be considered include Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Kevin Kisner and Gary Woodland.

The Ernie Els-captained International team might need all the help they can get to upset the Americans, who have dominated the event since its inception in 1994, losing only once.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond