Jim Furyk, Darren Clarke and Ernie Els set for World Champions Cup captaincy
4 Min Read
Written by Bob McClellan
PGA TOUR Champions and sports media marketing and events company Intersport announced on Monday that the inaugural World Champions Cup will take place Dec. 7-10 at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.
An event that has been years in the making, will pit teams of PGA TOUR Champions players from the United States, Europe and the rest of the world in nine-hole matches over the course of three days, similar to the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. It will air on ABC and ESPN.
As previously announced, the captains for each team will be Jim Furyk for the United States, Darren Clarke for Europe, and Ernie Els for the Internationals. Each has represented his country in Ryder and/or Presidents Cups, lending credence to the fledgling event.
“This is a tremendous addition to the Champions Tour schedule,” PGA TOUR Champions president Miller Brady said. “While Charlie (Besser, CEO of Intersport) had the idea I think 10 years ago, there was an email trail that was shared last evening, and it was fun to see that. We had this idea to have some sort of Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup for the Champions Tour probably 15-plus years ago, and it's taken us a long time to bring that vision all the way forward.
“ … When you think about the three captains, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke, they bring immediate credibility to this event. I'll just list some reasons why besides just their playing career. Jim Furyk, nine Ryder Cups, seven Presidents Cups and the 2018 Ryder Cup captain. Ernie Els played on eight Presidents Cup teams and was the captain in 2019. And Darren Clarke, five Ryder Cup teams and the 2016 Ryder Cup captain. They have experience, they have dedication, they have passion and when they were approached to participate as playing captains in this event, it wasn't even a thought. It was an immediate yes, how can we make it better.”
Besser is excited to see the shared vision of his and PGA TOUR Champions come to fruition.
“The idea was really to build upon the excitement of the Ryder Cup and of the Presidents Cup, to try to bring everybody together, the entire world together in one event, thus the three teams, an International Team, European team and an American team,” Besser said. “And we all know that the guys who play PGA TOUR Champions have got some serious old scores to settle with each other, and they are excited to get back out there and get after it.”
Furyk, Clarke and Els are all multiple winners on PGA TOUR Champions as well.
“The Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup, they've been my favorite events my entire career,” Furyk said. “Yeah, I don't know if it will feel normal, right? It's been a while since any of us have competed on those teams, but it will be nice to get the juices flowing, and I'm very honored to share this with Ernie and Darren. They've been dear friends for a long time and guys that I admire.”
Clarke believes he already has given Europe a leg up because unlike his fellow captains he has played at Concession once on a fishing trip.
“It's a huge honor and privilege for me to captain Europe again,” Clarke said. “It's been … 2016 was the last, so I'm really looking forward to it, especially going up against Jim and going up against Ernie. We've been friends for a very long time and those sort of friendships are put on hold a little bit during that week. One of us is going to be winning captain at the end of the week, which will also be very nice. It's just going to be special.
“The format, as we're a little bit older, don't think for one second that we're not as intense now and as much into trying to win. It's going to be so exciting that we're going to get the opportunity to do it again.”
The World Champions Cup will feature Team and Singles play. Points will be earned for each hole won in the 24 total matches, and the team with the highest point total will win. In a unique format change, there will be no closeouts. All matches will go the full nine holes.
Each of the teams competing in the World Champions Cup will consist of six players, including the playing captains, and all will be active PGA TOUR Champions members. Automatic invitations for each team will be extended to the top two point-earners in the WCC’s career-based rankings, with two additional positions going to Chairman’s picks. The final spots for Team USA, Team Europe and Team International will be play-in positions based on the year-end Charles Schwab Cup standings.