Paul McGinley to keep an eye on Couples' pairings from a distance
Published 03/10/2013 | 05:00
Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson will be extremely interested observers when the 10th Presidents Cup gets under way today.
Although neither man will be present at Muirfield Village as Fred Couples' United States side takes on the International team captained by Nick Price, Watson's vice-captain Andy North will be there and McGinley will watch on television after play in the Seve Trophy finishes each day.
"I have Andy North there all week," Watson said. "He has been around these players a lot more than I have and he will be my eyes and ears. I don't think it's my place to be there. I will be watching with great interest to see who is playing with whom.
"Right now I don't have any pairings that I've already made up in my mind for Gleneagles."
McGinley will also be keen to see what pairings Couples comes up with, adding: "A big mark in the sand for me is the Presidents Cup. It has served the Americans particularly well in terms of forming partnerships."
The United States has dominated the competition since it started in 1994, winning seven times and losing just once, while the 2003 contest ended in a controversial 17-17 tie in South Africa with a play-off between Ernie Els and Tiger Woods halted due to darkness.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, one of a record five South Africans in the team along with former British Open champions Els and Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Richard Sterne, admits the International team need to start winning to take the competition to the "next level."
"I think for us, we're feeding off guys like Ernie and Adam (Scott) that have played in seven or eight of these things," he said.
"And you can see by the way they feel that they really are sick and tired of losing. That's urging us on to change that around.
"I also think we feel we're sort of the new generation maybe. If you want to take the Presidents Cup to the next level, it's up to us to do it."
World No 2 Scott believes the contest "loses any credibility whatsoever" if his side do not start winning soon.
Presidents Cup Fourball pairings
4.45 J Day & G DeLaet (International) v H Mahan &
B Snedeker (USA).
4.55 B Haas & W Simpson (USA) v A Scott & H Matsuyama (International).
5.05 L Oosthuizen & C Schwartzel (International) v
P Mickelson & K Bradley (USA).
5.15 S Stricker & J Spieth (USA) v E Els & B de Jonge
5.25 A Cabrera & M Leishman (International) v M Kuchar &
T Woods (USA).
5.35 J Dufner & Z Johnson (USA) v B Grace & R Sterne
The Presidents Cup
Live, Sky Sports 1, 4.30