Royal Melbourne will host 2011 Cup

MONTREAL (AP) — The Presidents Cup will return to Royal Melbourne in 2011, making it the first course outside the United States to hold the matches more than once.

The PGA Tour had said earlier the Presidents Cup would be held in Australia, then spent the last two years deciding on a course. Royal Melbourne was chosen over Kingston Heath and Metropolitan, which in 2001 held the Accenture Match Play Championship. Royal Sydney also received consideration.

Royal Melbourne, designed by Alister Mackenzie and regarded as one of the best courses in the world, was the first place the Presidents Cup was played overseas and remains the only place the International team has won.

It was held the second week of December in 1998, six weeks after the PGA Tour season ended, and the Americans suffered their worst defeat in team competition, 20 1/2-11 1/2.

Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Thursday the dates for 2011 had not been set, but that it likely would be during the Australia golf season in late November or early December. One change from last time might be when the teams are determined, so that qualifying does not end as many as three months before the Presidents Cup is held.

Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, captain of that International team who famously introduced the American team at opening ceremonies as “the greatest collection of golfers in the world,” said he was not interested in returning as captain.

“I’m a has-been and I’m happy to be that, instead of a could-have-been,” Thomson said.

But he said he would favor Greg Norman leading the International team, especially with the matches being held in Australia. Norman, perhaps the most popular golfer to emerge from Down Under, played on that ’98 and lost a singles match against Tiger Woods.

Norman and Finchem have been at odds for much of the last decade, however, and it was not clear if he would be interested.

“I hope one day he will be captain,” Thomson said. “He was a giant figure in the game for so long, I think it’s appropriate that if he wants to be, he should be captain of this team.”

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