Global gains threaten U.S.

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Unlike its record against the Europeans in contemporary Ryder Cup play, the United States has managed to maintain its dominance in the Presidents Cup, but it remains to be seen if that will be the case later this year at Royal Melbourne.

Jay Haas, who recently confirmed he will play in the Montreal Championship in July, will serve as U.S. assistant captain to Fred Couplesn the Presidents Cup in Australia. Couples will also play in the Montreal Champions Tour event.

While Haas insists he likes the way the American team is shaping up, headmits there’s no denying the strength of other countries will benefit the International side this year.

The International team is looking awesome right now with Masters champ CharlSchwartzel, veteran Ernie Els, Adam Scott, who looks on the verge of something huge, British Open champ Louis Oosthuizen and Masters runner-up Jason Day, among others.

“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge because you’ve got five South Africans right now that are in the top 10 that would be automatic picks,” said Haas.

“It’s just a tremendous field that they are going to put there.”

THE SHORT GAME

The second Montreal Championship will be played June 30 to July 3 at Club de golf Le Fontainebleau in Blainville, Que., and Haas says the event made a huge first impression on players last year. “First impression in anything is huge. Whether you’re interviewing for a job or in any kind of walk of life, it leaves a lasting impression,” said Haas. “The main thing the players are looking for, from my perspective, is No. 1, the conditions of the golf course and No. 2 the players love to have the fans out there, and (Montreal) had that.” As it stands right now, Haas could be coaching his son Bill Haas, who is currently contending for an automatic selection to the American side at the Presidents Cup. No sign of Canada in the upper echelon of International standings. Stephen Ames was the highest at 46th last week. Presidents Cup regular Mike Weir was 98th last week ... With all the chatterabout Luke Donald gunning for the No. 1 spot in the world rankings at The Heritage, answer this: Who is the No. 1 woman in the world? (The answer is at the end of this column) The general feeling is that the Heritage wasn't played for the final time when it concluded yesterday. Politicians and players are contributing to the search for a title sponsor after Verizon pulled out last year. Harbour Town Golf Links offers something unique for players and fans with its tight fairways and small greens, so the desire is there to keep it but that means jack unless someone comes up with the cash ... As predicted here last week, ClubLink has acquired the 36-hole Woodlands Country Club near Fort Lauderdale for $5 million. Don’t be surprised if ClubLink remains in acquisition mode in both Florida and Canada with the number of golf courses available on in both countries Š Taiwan’s Yani Tseng is No. 1 in the women’s world rankings. If you think the men’s rankings have gone global, the women’s rankings feature only three Americans — Cristie Kerr (No. 3), Michelle Wie (9) and Paula Creamer (10) — in the top 10. Tough to stay interested with so few LPGA events on the schedule, but the sixth tournament of the season will be played this week in Alabama with Hamilton’s Alena Sharp, Barrie’s Stephanie Sherlock, Charlottetown’s Lorie Kane, Montreal’s Lisa Meldrum, and Sam Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., in the field. It’s the LPGA’s only April event ... Brantford’s David Hearn, Calgary’s Stephen Ames, Kingston’s Matt McQuillan and Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., will be at this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans on the PGA Tour.


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