‘Have a blast and let ‘er rip’: International captain Trevor Immelman embraces his eight Presidents Cup rookies and their underdog role

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Golf fans and media members alike have all but written off the International team’s chances at the 2022 Presidents Cup this week, and it’s justified on paper.

Only five International players rank inside the top 30: Hideki Matsuyama (17), Sungjae Im (19), Tom Kim (22), Corey Conners (26) and Adam Scott 30. All 12 players on the American squad sit inside the top 25, with five inside the top 10.

In the 13 previous editions of the biennial bout, the U.S. has won 11 times, with its lone loss coming in 1998, as well as a tie in 2003. With the odds stacked against his side, International captain Trevor Immelman is embracing the underdog role and his team full of rookies at Quail Hollow Club.

“I think it’s quite clear that we’re the underdogs. We generally have been in this competition over the years, so it’s a tag that we’re used to,” said Immelman during his pre-event press conference on Tuesday. “So we can go out there and play absolutely as free as we want, free as we can, and see if we can match up with the crazy good skills the Americans have, that they show us week in and week out.”

Meet the teams: Americans | Internationals
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Davis Love III and the Americans are used to being the favorite, but he also knows the eight rookies on the other team – Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Conners, Cam Davis, Kim, K.H. Lee, Sebastian Munoz, Taylor Pendrith and Mito Pereira – have arrived in North Carolina with a chip on their shoulder.

“I think it’s worked out quite well that we’ve got eight rookies here because they are just so excited,” added Immelman. “Everything is new and fresh, and they’re seeing everything for the first time.”

Despite the stats painting a grim picture, the Internationals enter with a good bit of form, as well. As pointed out by stats guru Justin Ray on Twitter, four of the top-six players in strokes gained ball striking from July 1 through the Tour Championship that are competing this week will do so behind the International shield: Pendrith (4th), Conners (5th), Im (7th), Scottie Scheffler (8th), Tony Finau (9th) and Kim (11th).

Immelman and his staff don’t plan on complicating things this week. According to Immelman, their message is clear: “Have a blast and let ‘er rip.”

“We have absolutely nothing to lose. These guys have worked their butts off since they were kids, and they finally made it into this team. Making this team is a big deal,” added Immelman, who further praised Ernie Els for helping establish an International identity in 2019 with the shield and team colors. “So my message to them is to, number one, trust yourself, believe in yourself, and then have a blast. Enjoy every second.”