Louis Oosthuizen on Tuesday said the International team that will tee off at the Presidents Cup next week are “like 12 brothers” who have a real shot at ending the US’ dominance of the event.
The South African 2010 British Open champion will be competing in his fourth edition of the biennial match play showdown, heading to Royal Melbourne as one of the more experienced campaigners.
Skipper Ernie Els has seven rookies in his 12-man team that will face a powerful US outfit led by playing captain Tiger Woods, but Oosthuizen said they are up for the challenge.
“It’s a very unique set-up, the President’s Cup,” he said in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open this week, where a handful of the International team are playing, including Adam Scott, Mark Leishman and Els.
“Everyone always says that we don’t have team spirit or don’t have enough.
“I can promise you, when Thursday [next week] comes, we’re like 12 brothers in that team. We’ve bonded, we’re ready to go, we want to win, we’ve got the same energy and just want to get the tournament done.”
Oosthuizen likened the Presidents Cup camaraderie to the Ryder Cup, played between Europe and the US, and said it was essential to muster that type of team spirit in Melbourne.
“I think the history with the Ryder Cup, there is a lot more in there and that’s why you always see the guys a little bit more pumped, and we need that,” he said.
“We need that in the President’s Cup. I think the only way to get that is if Internationals win.
“We need to get our name on the trophy again and show the Americans we’re here to play. We’re here to win the trophy, to win the Cup and not just show up to just have a good week.”
The Internationals have won only once in the event’s 25-year history, but it was in Melbourne in 1998 and Oosthuizen said they would never have a better chance to do it again.
Skipper Els knows the venue well and holds the course record 12-under-par 60,
while the hugely experienced Scott, who has played in eight Presidents Cups, also has an intimate knowledge of Royal Melbourne.
“I think we all sort of feel Royal Melbourne is the place we’ve got probably the best shot,” said Oosthuizen. “We’ve got a team that’s really in form. We’ve got a young side coming through.
“I think having an Aussie crowd behind us, playing Royal Melbourne especially, I think it will be the best home course advantage we can have.”
Meanwhile, Australian Scott knows fans at the Presidents Cup will be excited to see Tiger Woods play, but he has urged them not cheer for the golf superstar or anyone else on the US team.
Scott has played in eight editions of the biennial matchplay tournament and is the only member of the International team who appeared in 2011, which was also at Royal Melbourne.
Woods, who is playing captain this time round, secured the winning point in 2011 and Scott said the Australian crowd were too nice.
“Last time it was too friendly,” he told News Corp newspapers ahead of teeing up on Thursday at the Australian Open in Sydney, where he will fine-tune for the Presidents Cup.
“Quite bluntly, we want the home-crowd advantage, and I’ll be disappointed if they are cheering enthusiastically for Tiger or anyone on the US team.”
The Els-led Internationals need all the help they can get, having won only once in the event’s 25-year history.
They have a young and mostly inexperienced team, in contrast to the Americans who boost some of the world’s top-ranked players such as Woods, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.
“I’m not saying be a poor sport, but one challenge our team has always had is gaining a home-soil advantage because it’s rare that stars like Tiger and DJ [Johnson] come to Australia or Korea where we play these things,” Scott said.
“And the locals are excited to see them as much as anyone on our team.
“But while we appreciate them very much, we don’t have to cheer for them.”