Charl Schwartzel enters the 2013 Presidents Cup perhaps playing better than any International team member not named Adam Scott. And yet, it's Schwartzel who is probably facing the biggest challenge and uphill battle this week.
That's because the 2011 Masters champ will likely be paired with close childhood friend and fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen for most of the two-man games. In another year and another place, that would be an ideal and formidable pairing capable of beating any American duo. But unfortunately for Schwartzel, he'll probably have to carry Oosthuizen all week. It's Oosty's first real competition since early July, as the diminutive South African has been nursing injuries all over his body -- mostly in his back -- that have prohibited him from really swinging a golf club in more than two months. It's a dicey circumstance, and it's hard to predict what Schwartzel can count on from his longtime playing partner.
Schwartzel has the talent and ability to carry a two-man team, but it's going to be tough on the road against an American team whose depth really outclasses the Internationals. Fred Couples can throw out a series of two-man teams that could have Schwartzel feeling resigned early on the front nine.
And that's the trouble for Nick Price and his International team. It's not deep, and Schwartzel is one of the world-class players who should be counted on to post points (as would Oosthuizen if he were healthy). In his debut in Melbourne two years ago, he posted a team best 3-1-1 record and the Internationals will need a comparable showing this week. Can his partner give him enough to get there?
World Ranking: 19
Qualified: Automatic spot No. 3 of 10
Presidents Cup Match Play Record: 3-1-1 (2011)