Golf: Leishman, de Jonge get Presidents Cup call

Marc Leishman and Brendon de Jonge got the nod from International captain Nick Price Wednesday for the Presidents Cup match play contest against the United States next month.

Leishman, who posted a fourth-place finish at the Masters in April, becomes the third Australian on an International team that will be headed by Masters champion Adam Scott and fellow Australian Jason Day.

US captain Fred Couples opted to inject some youthful energy into his squad as he selected 20-year-old US PGA Tour rookie Jordan Spieth and former US Open champion Webb Simpson with his two captain's picks for a team headed by world number one Tiger Woods.

Simpson, the 2012 US Open champion, had been among the top 10 in the qualifying standings for much of the two-year qualifying period, before he was edged out on Sunday by Zach Johnson when Johnson rolled in a 26-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the Deutche Bank Championship.

"With Webb being in the top 10 for two years, only to get pushed out with one putt -- there was no way I could leave him off," Couples said.

Couples opted to give Spieth a chance, goaded in part by the memory of his decision not to pick rising star Keegan Bradley two years ago -- a move he now thinks was a mistake.

Spieth, who won the John Deere Classic this year and has eight top-10 finishes, will be the second-youngest player in Presidents Cup history after Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, who was 18 when he played for the Internationals in 2009.

"I'm excited to have a young kid on the team," Couples said. "I left Keegan out two years ago and that was a killer decision and he has become one of the best young players in the game."

Price's International team will have seven Presidents Cup rookies. He acknowledged that he had a tough time making his choices.

"Yesterday was probably one of the toughest days of my life," Price said. "I had it down to three guys - Marc, Brendon and Tim Clark. To try and separate the three of them and only pick two was an exceptionally difficult task."

In the end, Price said he left out the more experienced Clark, believing the South African's lack of length off the tee could be a hindrance at Muirfield Village, the Jack Nicklaus-designed course that hosts the US PGA's Memorial every year and has also hosted the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup.

The Americans have lost only one edition of the biennial event, at Melbourne, Australia, in 1998, while the 2003 renewal in South Africa ended in a draw. The Americans won in 2011 at Royal Melbourne 19-15.

The matches, which follow a slightly different four-day format to those of the Ryder Cup, will be held at Muirfield Village October 3-6.


USA: Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth

Captain: Fred Couples

International: Adam Scott (AUS), Jason Day (AUS), Charl Schwartzel (RSA), Ernie Els (RSA), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Hideki Matsuyama (JPN), Branden Grace (RSA), Graham DeLaet (CAN), Richard Sterne (RSA), Angel Cabrera (ARG), Marc Leishman (AUS), Brendon de Jonge (ZIM)

Captain: Nick Price (ZIM)