Ernie Els finalizes International Team for next month’s Presidents Cup

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor

Ernie Els officially rounded out his International Team for the Presidents Cup next month, making his four captain’s picks on Wednesday night. 

Els added Jason Day, Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im and Adam Hadwin to his 12-man team, which will take on the United States team at Royal Melbourne in Australia starting on Dec. 12 in the biennial event. The team is looking for its first Presidents Cup win since 1998, which also took place at Royal Melbourne.

United States captain Tiger Woods will make his captain’s picks on Thursday night.

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“This was very difficult for me,” Els said, via ESPN. “There are numerous guys I had to call. Branden Grace, Ben An, Corey Conners and some other guys who were really close. It was very difficult to make those calls.

“But I had to look at guys’ long-term form, guys who have played well for a while. Looking at all the stats, I wanted good driving, good ballstriking, obviously, but putting is very important. In my experience in these Cups, it comes down to pressure putting. So putting is a critical attribute.”

Day had six top-10 finishes on Tour last season, and is fresh off a win at MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins — the special skins challenge in Japan last month ahead of the Zozo Championship. The Australian native and 12-time Tour winner is currently ranked No. 29 in the world, though has held the top spot and has one major championship under his belt. 

Niemann has made waves on Tour in the less than two years he’s been a professional. The 20-year-old Chilean picked up his first win earlier this season at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, and had four top-10 finishes last season — including back-to-back T5s at the Travelers Championship and the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Im is fresh off a dominant season on Tour, which earned him the Rookie of the Year award thanks to seven top-10 finishes. The South Korean picked up where he left off this season, too, picking up a runner-up finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a T3 finish at the Zozo Championship and a T11 finish at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions last week.

Hadwin hasn’t won on Tour since 2017, but is trending up as of late. The 32-year-old Canadian already has two top-five finishes this season, including a runner-up finish at the Safeway Open, and is currently ranked No. 44 in the world. He has experience in the Presidents Cup, too, having played for the International Team in 2017.

Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Louis Oosthuizen and C.T. Pan make up the rest of the team, as they earned automatic spots earlier this year.

Joaquin Niemann, along with Jason Day, Sungjae Im and Adam Hadwin, will round out the International Team at the Presidents Cup next month. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joaquin Niemann, along with Jason Day, Sungjae Im and Adam Hadwin, will round out the International Team at the Presidents Cup next month. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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