The only other time the Presidents Cup featured a captain was the opening event in 1994, when Hale Irwin was qualified for the United States squad and asked to lead the Americans, Three international team rookies – Im Sung-Jae, Joaquín Niemann and Li Haotong – were not yet born when Irwin skilfully played his double role and set a 2-1 record in the US team's 20:12 win.
"Honestly, playing was a breeze compared to the captain and all the myriad of things you have to go through," said Irwin, who described the selection of team outfits as one of the many time-consuming tasks he did.
He speaks by phone from his home in Arizona, Irwin. 74, added: "As a player, it was easy to hit the ball and knock it down in the middle and win the hole. It was pretty straightforward. "
This year's participants are obliged appear in just one of the four sessionss before the individual games on Sunday, in which everyone plays. The newly introduced change seems to benefit Woods because he has the ability to contribute as a player without worrying about overloading his surgically merged back and surgically repaired knees.
Woods has three alternate captains – Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker – who can stand up for him at daily press conferences or take care of administrative details to relieve Woods and improve his athletic lead.
At the last Presidents Cup two years ago at the Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, nobody, including Woods, anticipated his return in 2019 in an oversized role. Woods had back pain that made sitting in a cart uncomfortable and he was relegated to the role of acting captain under Stricker.
After a record number 683 weeks in the world, Woods had dropped to number 1,142. He had been banned from golf for seven months and had spoken openly about his uncertain future.