Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Darren Clarke Head Teams for New World Champions Cup

Ernie Els, Jason Langwell, and Jim Furyk, World Champions Cup,Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Ernie Els, Jason Langwell, and Jim Furyk, World Champions Cup,Syndication: Florida Times-Union /

There’s a new team event on the PGA Tour Champions circuit starting this December. It’s called the World Champions Cup, and the teams will be made up of headliners from all over the world. And it has at least one thing you haven’t seen before; sixsomes!

Leading the charge are three respected captains; Jim Furyk, heading up the team for the US, Darren Clarke leading up the team for Europe and Ernie Els who has the entire rest of the world.

All have captained Ryder Cups or Presidents Cups in the past.

“I can’t tell you how these are my favorite events that I ever played in,” Furyk said about playing for the US at a special World Champions Cup press announcement during the Constellation Furyk & Friends tournament. “To represent something bigger than yourself, to wear the American flag on your sleeve, to be a group and play for a team is something I’ve always admired.”

Each team will have six players including the captains who will also play. The last time a captain played on a Ryder Cup team was when Arnold Palmer was captain of the US Ryder Cup team in 1963. Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie were both playing captains several times for the Seve Trophy.

In addition, there is a vice-captain for each team, and he’s not just there for show.

“If one of us gets hurt, another can step in,” Els said about the significant role of the vice-captain.

“Mental injuries don’t count though,” Clarke quipped.

“They don’t count. We all have those,” Furyk added.

Furyk’s vice-captain is Billy Andrade.

One player for each team had already been selected prior to the press conference. Furyk had picked Steve Stricker for Team USA. Ernie Els had chosen Vijay Singh for the International Team. Darren Clarke had picked Bernhard Langer for Team Europe.

World Champions Cup, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk, 2022 Charles Schwab Cup, Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic /

Three additional players were announced during the press conference with Furyk choosing David Toms, Els picking Retief Goosen and Clarke going for Colin Montgomerie.

Goosen and Els played junior golf together while growing up in South Africa. Furyk noted that he and Toms have played a lot of golf together over the years and noted Toms is a more fiery player than one might think.

Clarke commented on Montgomerie’s unbeaten singles record in the Ryder Cup. The teams will, no doubt, be packed with formidable golfers.

Each captain will add three more players to their squads between now and December when the World Champions Cup is played.

World Champions Cup, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Jim Furyk
Ernie Els, 2023 Open Championship, Hoylake, Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Peter Jacobsen spearheaded the idea for the World Champions Cup.

Jacobsen is the Tournament Chairman.

According to Jason Langwell of Intersport, the company overseeing the event, the format is somewhat unique in that there will be a pro-am on Saturday, due to the conflict with college football on ABC and ESPN where the contest will air.

"“Over the first two days we’ll have sixsomes playing. So, we’ll have in the morning six-ball (Best Ball) matches, in the afternoon we’ll have a Scotch sixsome (Modified Alternate Shot) match each day, Thursday and Friday,” Langwell said. “The final two days will consist of a unique, on Saturday, first of its kind Saturday pro-am that our sponsors and guests will enjoy, followed by Sunday singles matches.”"

At the conclusion of the Charles Schwab Cup in mid-November, the highest-finishing player not otherwise on the team will earn a spot to compete. The field will be filled until there are three, six-player teams.

One would imagine that Ernie Els will pick three additional players from a list that includes Steven Alker, Stephen Ames, K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, Thongchai Jaidee, Rod Pampling, and others.

Clarke can pick from stalwarts like Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Alex Cejka, Robert Karlsson, Paul Broadhurst, and others. Whether he can arrange for good friend Lee Westwood, who has turned 50, remains to be seen, due in part to Westwood’s participation in LIV golf.

Furyk may have many more active over-50 players to review. Justin Leonard has just turned 50, for example.

The World Champions Cup was actually supposed to debut earlier, but with COVID and then LIV, it was held up by circumstances beyond anyone’s control. But all the pieces are now in place, including the site, which is Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida.

Next. The Ryder Cup and what went wrong for Team USA. dark

The first two days of competition will be played Dec. 7-8, followed by the pro-am on Saturday, Dec. 9, and the final day of competition that Sunday, Dec. 10.