Tiger clash could rob Cup lead-up of star power
ADAM Scott believes the Australian Open can snare some of America's star-studded Presidents Cup team despite clashing with Tiger Woods' charity event in the Bahamas.
Woods, the American team captain, has announced his 18-man Hero World Challenge will run December 4-7 - concurrent to the Open at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney.
As recently as March, Woods' management and PGA Tour officials would not confirm the dates of the event while the two parties negotiated a desirable outcome for the Presidents Cup, which the tour owns.
The biennial showpiece, which pits an International team against America, will be held at Royal Melbourne from December 12-15.
However, with Woods expected to be a rare playing captain in Melbourne, his management and charitable arm made the concession to finish the Hero a day early, on Saturday, in order for the Americans to arrive in Australia on Monday.
Australian fans are concerned the majority of the American team will play Woods' $5 million, no-cut event but the eligibility criteria is strict.
The Hero invites reigning major winners, the defending Hero champion, two sponsor exemptions and the best 11 available golfers on the world rankings.
Scott, likely to make a record-setting ninth appearance for the Internationals, says playing in Sydney will be an option several Americans will take.
"I think they'll get some," Scott said.
"The prospect of playing in Australia the week before the Presidents Cup is appealing to some in that team."
But it is not an outcome Scott wants.
The former world No.1 believes the struggling Internationals could do with a tired and underprepared American side.
In 1998, just two American team members contested the Open at Royal Adelaide before the Internationals won in Melbourne the next week - still their only victory in the Cup's 25-year history.
"I'd much rather see most of the American team come down on Monday, jet-lagged," Scott joked.
"But the American team now is a much different (to 1998); these guys have travelled a lot more and played around the world.
"If there is ever a place we could have an advantage, it is Royal Melbourne."
Renowned golf course architect and former professional Mike Clayton said the Australian Open is a better chance to pick up several International stars than Americans.
"I would think (captain) Ernie (Els) and (assistant) Geoff (Ogilvy) will encourage the Internationals to play the Australian Open," Clayton said.
"Although The Australian Golf Club is vastly different to Royal Melbourne, the benefits are a better adjustment to the time zone, as well as strengthening team morale."