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Pro TIp: Presidents Cup Preview

Pro Tip: Presidents Cup Preview

For the first time in the event’s history, there will be two Canadians participating in the upcoming Presidents Cup.

International Team Captain Trevor Immelman made the news official during a Sept. 6 announcement when Taylor Pendrith, the 31-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont. was selected as one of the Captain’s Picks.

TAYLOR PENDRITH

He joins Corey Conners, of Listowel, Ont., on the team. Conners had already earned a spot on the team on merit thanks to his fine play on the PGA Tour over the last 18 months.

Corey Connors

Pendrith, who sat out most of this PGA Tour season after fracturing his rib – he also tested positive for COVID-19 during the week of the John Deere Classic, which was supposed to be his first tournament back – has played exceptional golf through the summertime. He was in the final group on Sunday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and also finished tied for 8th at the PGA Tour’s penultimate event of the season as some highlights.

Pendrith is also one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, so the combination of his recent form and impressive length is what ended up prompting Immelman to pick the Canadian.

He’ll be a rookie on the team alongside Conners.

“Taylor really in the last couple months burst on to the scene, quite honestly,” said Immelman. “After The Players… he sort of disappeared off of our radar a little bit because we weren’t quite sure how he was going to come back. But turns out, when he came back, he played some unbelievable golf.

“A player that we think is in great form right now, and his game matches up extremely well with what we know about Quail Hollow where we’re having this Presidents Cup. He’s one of the longest hitters on Tour, top-10 in Driving Distance this season, so we think we can use that to our advantage.”

Pendrith was picked over two other Canadians who were ahead of him in the points standings – Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin. Hadwin was a two-time participant in the Presidents Cup prior to this year and many felt having an experienced selection would help out more in the team room. But in the end, Pendrith’s prestigious length won the day.

“Hadwin has played a couple Presidents Cups, so he had that as a little bit of an edge in our decision-making process. Mac Hughes also a great putter, lives in Charlotte, so those were his advantages,” said Immelman. “But at the end of the day, we had to try and find a way to blend different things together, whether it be through team chemistry, whether it be through matchups with the golf course and how we believe the golf course is going to be set up. This is what we went with.”

Pendrith was invited to an all-team, two-day orientation at Quail Hollow last week and got more familiar with the rest of the team – some of whom he was meeting for the first time.

“Some of those guys are guys I’ve watched on TV for years but never met them before. To have dinner, play golf, get the comfort level a bit better… I think Trevor is doing a good job with the team to make them feel comfortable and calm,” said Pendrith. “We want to play the best golf we can for everybody. Those two days were a big help.”

The other picks by Immelman were Australian Cameron Davis, South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Colombian Sebastian Munoz, and a pair of South Koreans in Si Woo Kim and K.H. Lee.

They join Conners, Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Tom Kim, Sungjae Im, and Mito Pereira on the team, who automatically qualified.

The squad will go up against a tough American squad – who Immelman admitted might have been the best in the Presidents Cup’s history.

Still, Immelman said his team is relishing the underdog role – with two Canadians firmly in the mix to help out.

“We understand exactly the mountain that we have in front of us,” said Immelman. “We'll be representing underdogs all over the world in every facet of life… whether it be business or sport or kids at school (and) trying to make them proud. I'm extremely proud of my team. They've all worked their butts off to get to this point. We look forward to the Presidents Cup every time. Even over the years you look at the history books, everybody knows we've had our butts kicked, but that doesn't mean we'll come with any less passion and compete to try and win.”

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