Golf: Norman has to miss out

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THE driving force behind the President's Cup, a new matchplay event in the format of the Ryder Cup, was Greg Norman. Yet when the event gets under way here today, the Australian will not be here.

Norman was forced to pull out this week because a form of intestinal influenza has caused him to lose 11lb over the past two weeks and kept him regularly doubled over with cramps. Norman is said to be at home, physically miserable, and mentally devastated at missing these matches.

The main difference between this event and the Ryder Cup is that there are no Europeans. The two sides here are the Americans versus the Internationals, who, following Norman's departure, comprise Nick Price and anyone else who agrees to play.

Ernie Els and Jumbo Ozaki are other notable absentees and the International team are now the underdogs. The rest of the 12-man team are David Frost and Fulton Allem (South Africa), Steve Elkington, Craig Parry, Robert Allenby, Peter Senior and Brad Hughes (Australia), Frank Nobilo (New Zealand), Vijay Singh (Fiji), Tsukasa Watanabe (Japan) and Mark McNulty (Zimbabwe).

The American team is led by a playing captain, Hale

Irwin, and also comprises Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson,

Davis Love III, Tom Lehman, Loren Roberts, Jim Gallagher Jnr, John Huston, Jay Haas, Jeff Maggert, Scott Hoch and Corey Pavin.

There are 32 matches, compared with the Ryder Cup's 28, but what drives much of the excitement of the Ryder Cup - nationalism - will be missing here: most of the International team actually live and play in the United States.