Cam Davis knows he’s going to have to play better than he ever has before.
Not just the 27-year-old Australian but every member of an International team cut apart by LIV Golf defectors weeks before the first Presidents Cup since 2019 when hopes of a miracle win at Royal Melbourne were shot down by an all-too familiar final day US rampage.
Called up by captain Trevor Immelman after fellow Aussies Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman were ruled ineligible for the PGA Tour-run event, Davis isn’t without claims to be on the team.
Immelman was adamant the 2017 Australian Open winner’s trajectory was going in the right direction and that he’d been watching him for some time, especially after his breakthrough PGA Tour win in 2021.
There’s no hiding from the fact the International team is undermanned, significantly, so much so the stacked Team USA, with five of the world’s top 10 players in their outfit, are at Winx-like odds of $1.14 to win, yet again, even without their own LIV defectors like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
But being thrust into such an elite competition could be the spur Davis, and his teammates, including Masters winner and world No.16 Hideki Matusyama, needs to produce a miracle on grass.
“I just think it’s just an environment that just automatically kicks me into a slightly different gear to what I normally play and I feel like that’s still there and I can’t wait to see what that’s like amongst how many people is going to be out there watching,” Davis said.
“It‘s going to be a very cool mix of I feel like freedom as well as … not intimidation, but just it’s going to be a really big environment, and I can’t wait to see how I stack up against it. I’m thinking that everyone in the team is going to be able to handle that quite well.
“I think everyone on the International side can look at that as, you know, added ability to bring out a bit more in their game than they may have ever before.
“The situation could actually bring out better golf than we’ve ever played, and even if it is more pressure to perform and try and beat this time, at the same time we are playing in an environment that allows to us free up and go for it.
“And I think everyone on our side is playing good enough golf where if they play with extra freedom and extra positivity going forward with teammates behind you to back you up, I think it‘s definitely going to create the sort of environment where we get over the line.”
Adam Scott is the only other Australian in the 12-man International team, lining up for his 10th Presidents Cup, having played so well in 2022 he earnt automatic selection, whereas Davis was a captain’s pick.
Scott pushed back on significant overtures to join LIV Golf, run by former Presidents Cup captain Greg Norman, and has become the heartbeat and leader of a team that has won the event just once, in 1998.
The passion of the veteran Aussie was evident at the team dinner when Davis was officially included.
“Adam had a few words to say to everyone there at the dinner and a few were directed more in my direction,” Davis said.
“Definitely a lot of wisdom from him having done this a million times already, going into his 10th. It‘s cool to have another familiar accent out there to bounce off. It’s going to be cool.”
Breaking that cycle of US wins would be even better and Davis was adamant the new-look team was “hungry” to make history.
“Just personally growing up, and not having gotten it done before, watching the International team but also to be part of a team like this to get it done, obviously underdogs, it would be an extremely cool moment and I think we are all hungry for that,” he said.
“I want to bring my best game that I can possibly bring with me to it, and I’d love to see it come out as a successful week because I think we can do it.”
Quail Hollow Golf Club, North Carolina
Si Woo Kim
Captain: Trevor Immelman
Captain: Davis Love III