Greg Norman eyes format changes

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The International team trailed 4-2 after the opening session in the Presidents Cup and never caught up. That's how it was two years ago at Harding Park, in 2007 at Royal Montreal.

International captain Greg Norman believes it's time for a change.

Norman said if he could change anything about the Presidents Cup, it would be to give the host team the option of deciding the schedule of play, and giving the International side four captain's picks instead of two.

"We do get our cage rattled a little bit in the foursomes match," Norman said after the Americans won the cup for the fourth straight time. "And it does rattle us because we don't like getting beaten. ... What's wrong with the host nation having the choice of format, anyway?"

That's how it's done in the Ryder Cup, which effectively pits the PGA Tour against the European Tour.

Foursomes -- or alternate shot -- has been the leadoff session every time since 1998 at the Presidents Cup, and it's a format that has clearly favored the Americans in recent years.

They have won 25½ points out of 33 foursomes matches dating to 2007, including 8-3 this year. Norman believes if the fourballs session were first, perhaps the International team could gain some confidence.

Paul Azinger had the Ryder Cup begin with foursomes in 2008, and it was the lone American victory in the last 10 years.

Why do the Americans do so well in foursomes? Norman believes it's because of their experience from playing the quirky format every year in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Then again, the foursomes format only began getting lopsided toward the Americans in 2007.

The bigger question is why the International team does so poorly.

It was headed for a 3-3 opening session in foursomes until two teams -- Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel, and Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day -- lost late leads and had to settle for halves.

"How do we fix it?" Ernie Els said. "I think we are so bad at it, and every year we start the Presidents Cup with foursomes. Especially if we have a home-field advantage, why don't we start with something different? Maybe that's the answer."

U.S. captain Fred Couples had a different solution.

"They may need to find other players to play. That's pretty simple," he said. "The Internationals need to go play another format somewhere. In years coming up, maybe they will have another tournament where they play an alternate shot or whatever."