ATLANTA (Reuters) - Now that the Tour Championship and FedExCup playoffs are finished, many of golf’s top players are looking ahead to the next big event -- the President’s Cup.
Jordan Spieth capped a stellar season to secure both the season-ending trophies on Sunday, along with reclaiming the world number one ranking and an $11.4 million pay-day.
But the American was already relishing the prospect of clashing with rival Jason Day at the biennial tournament in Incheon, South Korea, from Oct. 8.
Spieth will spearhead the United States’ bid for a sixth straight victory against an International team anchored by Australian Day.
“I think it would be a cool match-up if I was able to play Jason in a couple of weeks’ time,” Spieth said after Sunday’s double-victory allowed him to leapfrog Day into the top ranking.
“I think it would be fun.”
Bae Sang-moon, one of the two captain’s picks on the International team, will soon begin mandatory military service in South Korea, but the 29-year-old is eager for what he is sure will be a memorable experience on home soil.
“I‘m really excited to be in Korea. It will be my first Presidents Cup and in my country. That really means a lot,” he told Reuters after finishing tied for 18th at the elite Tour Championship.
”I played a lot of tournaments in Korea, the Korean Tour, Asian Tour. The Korean fans are really hot and they are really rooting for Korean players.
“I can envision for the Presidents Cup a lot of golf fans coming out and rooting for the International team.”
South Korea-born Danny Lee of New Zealand fired a 65 on Sunday to soar up the leaderboard into a tie for second.
After signing his card, he was already contemplating the matchplay event that will be played in Asia for the first time.
”Yes, I’m very excited. I just cannot wait to be there. I think it’s going to be really fun,” he said.
Australian Steven Bowditch, yet another rookie on the International team and Nick Price’s other captain’s pick, was energized for Incheon.
“It will be great. I’ve never been a part of something this big,” he told Reuters after finishing even-par at the Tour Championship.
“Very excited to be there. Obviously there’s going to be excitement and nerves and all the above things that make this game great.”
Bowditch said supporters should be out in force.
“I‘m sure there’ll be a few around,” he said with a grin.
”Will be great to spend some time with my wife over there and the whole team and all their families, and it will be a great environment.
“Can’t wait to get out there.”
Former tour player Frank Nobilo of New Zealand, a three-times Presidents Cup player and a former assistant captain for the International team, said it was significant for the matches to be held in South Korea.
“This is a departure from what we’ve seen in the past, what you consider traditional golfing countries, whether it’s Australia or South Africa,” the Golf Channel analyst told Reuters.
”It’s a big step forward going to South Korea, which is producing a lot of fine players.
“And the fact of having an event of this stature in South Korea, probably the biggest golfing event they’ve ever had, I’d expect to see a huge spectator interest in the event which is going to provide the energy you need.”
Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Ian Ransom