Trevor Immelman, the captain of the International team in the Presidents Cup, has revealed he burst out laughing when he was finally shown the good luck message sent to him by Greg Norman.
The LIV Golf chief executive tweeted on the eve of the Charlotte match that “outside of all the angst, golf is golf and competition is competition” before finishing by wishing Immelman and his team “the very best in repeating our only Presidents Cup success in 1998”.
Norman was part of the International side who inflicted Team USA’s sole defeat in the 28-year history of the Ryder Cup clone.
There were high hopes that after a close defeat in 2019, Immelman’s side could achieve their first away win this year, but those hopes were essentially shot down when the likes of Cam Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer and Louis Oosthuizen joined Norman at LIV and the PGA Tour ruled the rebels ineligible for the biennial clash.
Hence Immelman’s reaction. “What I said was exactly what I was doing when I read that tweet: I was laughing out loud,” he said.
— Trevor Immelman (@TrevorImmelman) September 23, 2022
There are those who believe Immelman should have put up much more of a fight with the US circuit to allow him to select whoever he wanted, with a Sports Illustrated editorial accusing him of being “a doormat for Uncle Sam”.
That debate will continue to develop but what is certain is that Immelman has severely missed the LIV defectors, however tremendous their fightback on Saturday.
Going into Sunday's concluding 12 singles, the US are 11-7 ahead with Tom Kim, the 20-year-old Korean, establishing himself as the International poster boy in his fourballs win with Si Woo Kim over crack duo Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
It has been such a brave International effort but still they must think 'if only'.
At the French Open, Rasmus Hojgaard, the 21-year-old Dane, saw his six-shot overnight lead cut back to a solitary stroke as he followed a 62 and 65 with a 74. But it could have been even worse – Hojgaard hit three in the water on the par-three second before walking off with a quintuple eight, and bogeyed the third as well.
However, he gallantly played the remaining 15 holes in three-under to ensure he holds an advantage going into the final round at Le Golf National. South African George Coetzee is his nearest pursuer on 11-under, with Belgian Thomas Pieters and Frenchman Paul Barjon one further back.