Presidents Cup: Ernie Els shoulders blame for International Team's defeat
"I followed a plan from 100 per cent, and it didn't quite work out, but we came damn close"
Last Updated: 15/12/19 10:53am
International Team captain Ernie Els was happy to take the blame for his side's 16-14 defeat to the United States in the Presidents Cup.
The hosts took a 10-8 lead into the final day at Royal Melbourne but won just two of the 12 singles matches - another four were halved - as the Americans retained the trophy.
Els put five of his seven debutants in the first seven matches and only South Korean Sungjae Im claimed a win as he thrashed Gary Woodland 4&3.
In contrast, USA captain Tiger Woods put himself out first and he eased to a 3&2 victory over Mexican rookie Abraham Ancer before experienced duo Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed also claimed emphatic wins.
"I could have made different choices in the singles today," said South African Els at his press conference.
"I can take it on my shoulders. It is what it is. The questions will come from you guys and the public that I made mistakes in the selection of where I put my players.
"But I followed a plan from 100 per cent, and it didn't quite work out, but we came damn close."
The Internationals' only win in the event was at Royal Melbourne in 1998 and their victory drought will extend to 23 years before their next chance at Quail Hollow in 2021.
Els' team was the youngest ever fielded by the Internationals in the event's 25-year history and they had only Adam Scott in the world's top 20, compared to the United States' 10 players.
"If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building," added Els.
"But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.
"We were right there to the end, just a couple of matches didn't quite go our way. We're getting closer. We've just got to keep it up."
Australian Scott, who lost 2&1 to Xander Schauffele in the singles, has now played in nine Presidents Cup without winning.
"It's hard to digest," he said. "It's incredibly disappointing but I like where this team is going, and I'll be working really hard now to be on the team in two more years."
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