The Presidents Cup, unfortunately, does not have a history of unforgettable moments. That’s to be expected with the way the US side has dominated the international side in the previous 13 iterations of the biennial team event.
However, in 2003, golf enthusiasts witnessed not only one of the great moments on the golf team, but the history of golf. With the score tied 17-17 upon completion of Fancourt Country Club play, the President’s Cup rules, at the time, dictated that there would be a playoff between players of each captain’s choice. Naturally, US captain Jack Nicklaus chose Tiger Woods, the No. 1 player in the world. International captain Gary Player chose Ernie Els, then world number two. Earlier that day, Woods had dusted off Els 4 and 3 in the singles on Sunday, continuing his dominance over South Africa at moments when it mattered most.
With the pressure at its absolute peak, Els stared at Woods for three holes, hitting the sinking clutch after setting the clutch as the sun started to set in South Africa. Nick Price, then 46 and playing in his last Presidents Cup, was in a glass case of emotion as he watched it unfold.
“I was coming in for my 47th birthday, my nerves weren’t very good. They started to deteriorate,” Price said on this week’s episode of the podcast episode The Loop. “In all the times I’ve been watching golf on TV, I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous about anyone in my life as I was with Ernie that day.”
After Woods buried a dramatic 15 feet for the tie in the third playoff hole, Els squirted in six feet for the tie. As night fell, Player and Nicklaus made a bad call to agree to a tie, producing one of the strangest scenes ever, as the two band together around the second green to take the stand.
“Honestly, it was hard to see,” Price added. “It was very bleak.” “I was sweating, I couldn’t look. I was walking around in the grass looking everywhere, but it was hard. Really, really hard.”
Price went 2-2-0 that week, becoming a member of both the only international winning team (1998) and the international team in the process. He has since led the international team three times, failing to win each time but coming incredibly close in both 2013 at Muirfield Village and 2015 in Korea. Unfortunately, on his last drive in 2017, the international team was blown up at the Liberty National.
A similar explosion is likely to happen again this week at Quail Hollow, where the US team, despite LIV stealing a number of its players, remains as stacked as ever. The international team suffered a much worse fate due to LIV, which robbed them of men such as Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer and Cameron Smith. However, Price believes this international team can play the weak card and hang out with the Americans in Charlotte. He explained how they can achieve the upset, what he thinks about the future of the Presidents Cup and much more in this week’s episode of the podcast. Please, listen below.