LAKE MANASSAS, VA. — LAKE MANASSAS, Va. -- David Graham, the nonplaying captain of the International team, summed up the inaugural Presidents Cup matches more than 24 hours ahead of their conclusion when he said, "What you saw today was the true professional character of these guys."
That was between the Saturday morning and afternoon matches, after his side had won 3 1/2 of a possible five points to thwart what was a potential United States runaway.
Looking back late yesterday afternoon, the same could be said of both teams. The final 20-12 score at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club gave little indication of the closeness of the final-day 12 singles matches.
"A great match, with the players performing to the utmost," Graham said at the finish. "Eight of the 12 pairings went to the last hole, and you couldn't ask for anything more."
Growing player excitement and the heightened spectator awareness as the closing afternoon wore on should be enough to ensure a continuation ofthis competition.
John Morris, vice president of communications for the sponsoring PGA Tour, said, "No decision on the future will be made at this time.
"We'll go back and look at what happened this week and probably make a decision fairly quickly."
Presuming there is an affirmative vote, organizers would have nearly two years to prepare for the next one.
There was a one-year contract with the club, with options for the future.
"We were at a disadvantage this time, because the event was put together in such a short time. We talked about it in January and confirmed it by March," Morris said. "Next time, players [potential team members] will have had time to arrange their schedules, and corporations will have had time to arrange their budgets."
Or, as U.S. team co-captain Paul Azinger said: "It's been a great event. It's here to stay. As long as the players continue to stay committed, this willbe successful."
Graham called the whole International effort "a hair-raising experience." Referring to himself and U.S. playing captain Hale Irwin, Graham continued: "You get very emotionally involved. We put five months of our lives into this thing, and everything it started out to be, we accomplished. It was exhausting."
Both captains said there were some changes they would like to discuss for next time, such as limiting play to 18 holes a day, with possibly a different format or sequence of matches.
"It takes more than one of anything to get it established, but at least we do have a history in place," Graham said.
No rest for the weary
Six players involved with the Presidents Cup will return to action today at Lake Nona Club in Orlando, Fla., where Azinger will be host to his first Zinger Stinger Pro-Am to benefit lymphoma research by the Leukemia Society of America.
In addition to Azinger, others committed to play are Fulton Allem, David Frost, Nick Price, Scott Hoch and Corey Pavin.