Time passes and in a year almost to the day, some of the best golfers in the world will be in L’Île-Bizard to compete in the Presidents Cup. Even if the cycle of seasons will have time to end by then, captains Mike Weir and Jim Furyk have already started their preparation. And at this point, only one word matters: chemistry.
Weir and Furyk were invited to an interview in the form of a happy hour chat with members of the Royal Montreal golf club on Tuesday evening. Some media were invited for the occasion.
Sushi, shrimp, appetizers and assorted desserts were served on the second floor of the clubhouse. At the same time, the sun was setting over the impeccable fairways of the oldest golf course in America. Even Monet could not have imagined a more beautiful setting.
The black and gold flags installed at the edge of the circular balcony, floating thanks to the same north wind flattering the aisles of the back nine, do not lie. Even though the Presidents Cup will only begin on September 24, 2024, everyone involved already has both hands in the dough. Or in the dessert tray dominating the center of the room.
Even captains Weir of the international team and Furyk of the American team are thinking about the best way to win. For the moment, no player has been chosen. That would be much too early. “We think of names, but we don’t choose,” Weir clarified.
But as the Canadian mentioned to the hundred people present, they plan the organization of the locker room, the choice of uniforms and even the selection of dishes served. “The players come from different countries, therefore different cultures. We will have to adjust,” he said, standing right next to the golden trophy.
Take inspiration from the Ryder Cup
After the gathering, Furyk and Weir took turns sitting down with a few journalists to chat more casually. To talk in particular about hockey, football and especially golf.
Unlike his Pittsburgh Steelers, Furyk’s preparation is going well. In a few weeks, he will accompany the American team to Rome, Italy, as part of the Ryder Cup, another major team competition.
The main difference between this competition and the one scheduled in Montreal in a year is the identity of their opponents. At the Ryder Cup, the United States faces the Europeans. At the Presidents Cup, they compete against international players, meaning golfers from everywhere, except from the Old Continent.
Furyk will support captain Zach Johnson in Italy. And he’ll take notes for when it’s his turn to be captain. “Zach asked me to be here and I want to win. I’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t. »
Above all, it will be an opportunity for him to meet the players. “I know most of them, but not all. It will be good to be with them, to talk to them. I don’t know who will make the team next year, but it can’t hurt to be around. »
For his part, Weir will be an attentive spectator, because “their group is often similar. They are among the best players in the world and they will still be in 2024. We know what to expect. To win, we will have to be at our best.”
There is no secret, each victory at the Presidents Cup, or the Ryder Cup, is a collective success.
The Americans already seem to have rock-solid chemistry. Most of the representatives of the tricolor are long-time friends. We only have to think of Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, inseparable even off the field.
In terms of proximity and camaraderie between teammates, the United States therefore leaves with a head start. An advantage, some will say.
Moreover, the choice to bring Justin Thomas to Italy caused a reaction. Particularly because he did not play his best golf in 2023. But in this kind of format, you have to choose by going beyond performance, believes Furyk.
“You have to have players who create sparks. Players who encourage, who congratulate everyone and Justin, that’s it. He has always been a fighter and this intensity is a plus in his game. He could lift the team. If I had been Zach, I would have made the same choice. »
According to Weir, this cohesion between the members of the opposing team certainly represents the biggest threat. “The Americans often play together. Even in bye weeks. And we have to take inspiration from that, there is a lot more chemistry in their team. We want to go to dinner and play more together. In the last editions, it worked well. »
This is why during the next season, until D-Day, the players of the international team will have to learn to rub shoulders with each other and the adaptation will have to happen quickly, thinks the champion of the Masters Tournament in 2003: “C This is the biggest challenge. They will have to get to know each other, see each other and train together from next season on Mondays and Tuesdays before the tournaments. »
The time of choice will quickly arrive for the captains, as to the identity of the representatives of their respective team. Right now, Furyk is looking for not just the best players, but the best leaders. And he ended the discussion by illustrating his thoughts by citing the example of the New England Patriots. They certainly had the best quarterback, but the leaders did not necessarily surround him with the best players, but rather with the most complementary elements.
“I want leaders. Players who provide energy. You don’t necessarily have to bring together the best players, but you have to build the best team. »