Li, Pan to make Presidents Cup history for China, Taiwan

Li Haotong will become China's first player at the Presidents Cup. (AFP Photo/GIUSEPPE CACACE)
Li Haotong will become China's first player at the Presidents Cup. (AFP Photo/GIUSEPPE CACACE)

Melbourne (AFP) - Li Haotong, CT Pan and Abraham Ancer will make Presidents Cup history when they line up against Tiger Woods' formidable United States team in December.

They will become China, Taiwan and Mexico's first players at the biennial event when they represent the Internationals, organisers said on Monday.

Li, Pan and Ancer were among the top eight automatic qualifiers at the weekend deadline for an Internationals team captained by Ernie Els and seeking their first victory since 1998.

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They join fellow newcomer Cameron Smith of Australia and the top four players in the standings -- Australians Mark Leishman and Adam Scott, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama.

Four captain's picks will be made at a later date.

"This is as good as I could have asked for. I've got guys who have played in the Presidents Cup many times previously and I've got guys who are rookies," said Els.

The Internationals will tee off at Australia's Royal Melbourne from December 12-15 against an American team that has a combined 11 PGA Tour victories so far this season.

World number one and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka leads the pack, along with Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau.

Koepka, Johnson, Kuchar and Thomas, who won the BMW Championship at the weekend for his 10th PGA title, were all members of the US team that won 19-11 in New Jersey in 2017, their seventh straight triumph.

Schauffele, DeChambeau and Cantlay will be playing for the first time.

"This is the core of the team. These guys have earned it," said Woods, who has previously suggested he could be a playing captain.

"You've got some veterans, whether it's Webby, Kuch or Dustin, who have been part of the teams for a very long time, and we have some newcomers. We have a nice mix."

The only win by the Internationals in the event's 25-year history was in Melbourne in 1998, when they were captained by the late Peter Thomson.

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