Who would have thought, having crushed the Americans by nine points that, 21 years on, the International team would still be waiting on their second Presidents Cup win?
The first two matches took place in the States so this was the first time that the cup had travelled and Royal Melbourne was the perfect venue for Peter Thomson’s men.
As for the Americans Jack Nicklaus, whose son was his sole assistant, had the top four in the world – Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, David Duval and Davis Love III – and five others in the top 20 but this was their off-season and a side with seven different nationalities were more than a match for them. Thomson boldly chose to go with two Kiwis, Greg Turner and Frank Nobilo, as his picks.
“Peter probably liked the fact that Frank and I had played a lot of Dunhill Cups together,” said Turner. “Give him credit. He probably felt it was about the team, not the individuals. From the clubhouse to the 1st tee, it was a long walk and here we were a pair of Kiwis marching through a throng of screaming Aussies. It was a maelstrom. Kiwis hadn’t had that much support from Aussies since Gallipoli.”
Jumbo Ozaki, 51, chose not to play so his brother Jet came in while Hal Sutton also withdrew due to his father-in-law’s death so Lee Janzen stepped in.
After three sessions the hosts led 11.5-3.5 and that was pretty much that and, even with the singles being halved, the final scoreline was 20.5-11.5. Ozaki teamed up with Shigeki Maruyama for two fourball wins and Maruyama would go on to win all five matches.
“He (Shigeki) was infectious the minute we got together,” Nobilo said.
The Japanese star’s sidekick in the foursomes was Craig Parry who proved to be a brilliant choice.
“I knew the course like the back of my hand,” said Parry. “And I had first seen Royal Melbourne when I was five. I loved everything about it and felt it was a great place for us. I knew a little Japanese and I guided him around. I have a photo of our winning team, smiling and celebrating. It’s up in the bar of my house. One of the best memories of my life.”
As for his partner well he modestly puts the praise back on the Australian.
“Craig helped me a lot and covered my mistakes. I believed I could contribute a little bit, but our victory is 90 per cent thanks to him.”
Next on the International points list was Steve Elkington who, with Greg Norman, never lost and, according to Nobilo, he was the key part of Thomson’s arrangement.
“He was totally invested in the Presidents Cup. He got it. He was the one who fired the team up on the bus ride in the morning. He wasn’t just into his game, he was to everyone else on the team what a cornerman is to a boxer.”
So the last word goes to the outspoken and often blunt Aussie…
“We creamed them.”
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?