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Five Asian players on International Team

China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-09 09:04
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From left: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Im Sung-jae, KH Lee, Tom Kim and Kim Si-woo, all of South Korea, are the five Asian representatives on Trevor Immelman's International Team which will face the US in the 2022 Presidents Cup later this month in Charlotte, North Carolina. AFP/USA TODAY SPORTS

Five Asian golfers, including a record four South Koreans, will feature on the International Team for the 2022 Presidents Cup after captain Trevor Immelman selected South Korea's KH Lee and Kim Si-woo among his six picks in the 12-man roster to face the United States later this month.

Immelman also opted for South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Australia's Cam Davis, Colombia's Sebastian Munoz and Canada's Taylor Pendrith. It will mark Lee's Presidents Cup debut following his career-best season on the PGA Tour while Kim will make his second appearance after playing in the 2017 edition.

Lee and Kim Si-woo join their already qualified compatriots Im Sung-jae and Tom Kim on the International Team. Im finished tied-second in this year's FedExCup, while Tom Kim won his maiden PGA Tour title last month. Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, also qualified and will be making a fifth straight appearance at the Presidents Cup.

In the last edition in 2019, the International Team also included five Asian golfers, representing the growing strength of golf on the continent. In total, seven countries are represented on Immelman's side: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Japan, South Africa and South Korea, with Adam Scott, Corey Conners and Mito Pereira having already qualified earlier to face the US.

The Presidents Cup will be contested at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, from Sept 20-25.

"It will be my first time playing in the Presidents Cup and I'm very happy and honored to be picked by our captain," said Lee.

"I'm quite nervous but happy for sure. We have two weeks until the event and I can't wait for it. I was really pleased to receive the call from Trevor. I am prepared to be paired with anyone since they are all good players. There will be synergy pairing up with anybody."

Tom Kim was also thrilled to get the nod from Immelman.

"Trevor called a week after the (FedExCup) playoffs and I was happy as it means I'll be able to play in my second Presidents Cup," said Tom Kim. "I look forward to contributing to our team's cause.

"It's great that four Korean players have made it. With so many Koreans on this team, it does raise my pride to be a Korean. When I first played in 2017, I was the only player from my country back then, which made me a little lonely. But now we have many players, we can speak the same language and I'm happy about this."

Australian Immelman said Lee was a prime candidate to earn one of his six captain's picks after the 31-year-old qualified for his first Tour Championship, which is limited to the top 30 players in the FedEx-Cup rankings. Lee had successfully retained his AT&T Byron Nelson title in May for his second PGA Tour victory and posted seven other top-25s in the season just passed.

"KH is a proven winner and someone who has performed at a high level for quite some time," said Immelman.

"With each of his Byron Nelson wins, he went toe-to-toe with some of the best players in the world, but his final-round charge at the BMW Championship (to finish tied-fifth), where he nearly made our top eight automatic qualifiers, showed me a lot about his grit and determination.

"With KH, Si-woo, Tom Kim and Im Sung-jae, we have the largest contingent of Korean players on this team in Presidents Cup history, which I'm sure is a proud moment for everyone in their home country."

Immelman added that the 27-year-old Kim Si-woo, who is a three-time PGA Tour winner, was another player he has kept on his radar following a consistent season which saw him post 11 top-25s.

"Si-woo simply could not be overlooked. He is the youngest player to have ever won The Players at 21 years old; he has Presidents Cup experience from competing in 2017 on American soil; he is extremely popular in the locker room; and I have deep respect for his unlimited potential," Immelman said.

Since the Presidents Cup inauguration in 1994, there have been two occasions when four Asians featured on the International Teams-2011: KJ Choi, YE Yang, KT Kim (all South Korea), Ryo Ishikawa (Japan); 2015: Bae Sang-moon (South Korea), Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), Anirban Lahiri (India), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan). In 2019 at Royal Melbourne, Im Sung-jae, An Byeong-hun (both South Korea), Li Haotong (China), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) and CT Pan (Chinese Taipei) were part of the International Team that narrowly lost to the US.Choi will be one of Immelman's captain's assistants at Quail Hollow.

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