Ernie Els will not return as the International Presidents Cup captain in 2021.
After a close call at Royal Melbourne that saw Els’ seven-rookie team nearly pull off an incredible upset, the South African has decided he’ll clear the stage for a new captain to take the helm.
Speaking to Morning Read, Els said, “That’s as good as I can do. I gave it all. This is another change I wanted to make in our team. I get one opportunity, win or lose. You don’t get a second chance.”
In the immediate wake of losing to American playing captain Tiger Woods and Woods’ 11 other players, Els seemed to publicly entertain the idea of remaining captain for another go-round. However, he told his team the Sunday night after the matches that he wouldn’t come back. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan asked Els in January to reconsider.
“There is is so much of me that wants to do it, but I know the hardest thing is to step away,” Els said to Morning Read. “I can understand why people become dictators. You can get hooked on that power.”
When he took the captain’s role, Els replaced Nick Price, who was captain for three consecutive matches in the biennial series. Price helped usher in changes to the competition, including reducing the number of total matches. Els also changed the competition by reducing the playing requirements for each player, allowing him to hide weaker players for more sessions of the four-day competition. Els also introduced his own International team logo, replacing the PGA Tour-designed logo from the first 25 years of the series.
The next International captain will face similar hurdles to Price and Els, including trying to unify a team from various countries and speaking different languages. The Americans are 11-1-1 in the series, last losing at Royal Melbourne in 1998. The one tie was in 2003 in South Africa, when Els represented the Internationals against Tiger Woods in a sudden-death playoff for the cup. On the verge of darkness, captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player declared the competition a draw.
Mike Weir is expected to be named International captain in 2023, when the matches are thought to return to Royal Montreal in his native Canada. Who will slot into the 2021 captain’s role for the Internationals is still unknown.
It’s unclear if Woods will return as American captain in 2021, when the Presidents Cup is played at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.