Schwartzel eager to put pressure on in-form USA

Cape Town – Charl Schwartzel spoke candidly regarding the International team’s poor record against their American opponents leading up to this week’s Presidents Cup.

Schwartzel is part of captain Nick Price’s International team that will battle a strong American contingent at Liberty National GC starting on Thursday, September 28.

Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace are the three South Africans in the International line-up, while four-time major winner Ernie Els will take up his role as an assistant captain.

This will be Schwartzel’s fourth Presidents Cup after participating in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

READ: Schwartzel ready for Presidents Cup challenge

Of the 11 Presidents Cup tournaments to date, the United States have won nine, the International team once with one match tied.

“We’ve got a terrible record, this year we’re up against the most in-form team. Everyone in the American team is playing amazing golf, but I look at it as a benefit to us,” Schwartzel told Sport24.

“They’re going to have a tremendous amount of pressure riding on them because of that and we can come off starting really well on the first day. We can add a lot of pressure to them and that’s where you want them to be.”

Although the United States look strong on paper, the International team do have experience on their side as their team consists of only four rookies to the USA’s six.

Former world No 1 Jason Day, world No 3 Hideki Matsuyama and eight-time Presidents Cup star Adam Scott will vie to break their losing streak.

“Our team is strong this year. Day has been playing really well, Hideki has been playing unbelievable and (Marc) Leishman has been fantastic in the last few tournaments. It looks like our team is also on the rise, which is really good news for everyone,” said Schwartzel.

The 2011 Masters champion revealed that one of their key aspects in winning will be to prevent the US team from getting off to a flying start on the opening day.

“Our biggest key is going to be on the very first day. We need to try and be up after the first day,” said Schwartzel.

“I know there are four days, but every single time we start, there’s more red numbers than blue numbers. The Americans always seem to be up after day one.”

“We need to put doubt in their mind and say if they don’t play their best, they’re going to lose this.”

USA team:

Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Chappell, Phil Mickelson and Charley Hoffman

Captain: Steve Stricker

Captain’s assistants: Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Fred Couples

International team:

Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Jason Day (Australia), Adam Scott (Australia), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Marc Leishman (Australia), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Branden Grace (South Africa), Si Woo Kim (South Korea), Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela), Adam Hadwin (Canada), Emiliano Grillo (Argentina) and Anirban Lahiri (India)

Captain: Nick Price (Zimbabwe)

Captain’s assistants: Ernie Els (South Africa), Tony Johnstone (Zimbabwe), Mike Weir (Canada), Geoff Ogilvy (Australia)

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