By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) – If Ernie Els had any concerns about his position as captain of Team International for next week’s Presidents Cup, they were certainly misplaced when it came to CT Pan.
Pan is preparing for the quadrennial team competition with Els, non-playing vice-captains KJ Choi and Geoff Ogilvy, as well as five of his team mates at the Australian Open this week.
Asked whether he had made plans to go for a team-bonding dinner with four-times major champion Els while they were in Sydney, the 28-year-old Taiwanese admitted he had not.
“I’m still too shy to ask,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“He’s like a legend, a leader to me. I was honoured to get to play with him on Tuesday, nine holes with Abraham Ancer and K.J. Choi and it was really cool for me, just watching him chipping around the green.
“It just gave me goose bumps because he’s won so many Majors and when I was little I watched him playing … so that was a really cool experience for me.”
Pan, who got his first win on the PGA Tour at the Heritage in South Carolina in April, said he was hoping to use the Australian Open, which starts on Thursday, to work particularly on his putting.
Els said his plans for taking on the U.S. team led by Tiger Woods at Royal Melbourne next week were already well advanced and how his players got on in Sydney would not make any difference.
“My pairings is on my phone here and we’ve looked at quite a few different scenarios,” the South African said.
“It really doesn’t matter how the guys play this week, they’ve done their work, they’ve done the hard work of getting on the team.
“They don’t really have to prove much to me anymore. It will be nice if they play well, but we’ve done the long term form guide on all the players and I’m happy where they are.”
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)