NZ Golf Magazine | July 2019 | 15 L ocated in the heart of the French Quarter, steps away from historic Bourbon Street, sits the famed Arnaud’s Restaurant. For more than a century, it has served up classic Creole cuisine to both curious travelers from afar as well as a dedicated local base of French, Spanish, Latino and other international residents. The establishment, and the diverse melting pot of New Orleans itself, proved a fitting backdrop recently for Presidents Cup Captain Ernie Els and the host of unique candidates trying to earn a coveted spot on his team this year. “It's one of the hurdles that as a team we have to overcome, when you look at the fact that we can have up to eight or nine different countries that make up the formula for our team,” captain’s assistant Trevor Immelman said. “We’ve got to make sure that we try our best to find a way to meld all these cultures together to where guys really feel comfortable around each other.” On the surface, dinner and drinks in a culturally rich locale doesn’t seem like such a novel, out-of-the-box concept. But with six months to go before the latest Presidents Cup, the gathering is but one of a smattering of ideas Els is implementing in order to will the International Team to only its second win in the series history. “He's done some exciting things and has brought fresh energy to the International Team and what we're trying to accomplish in beating the Americans,” Canadian Adam Hadwin said. “Him being the international star that he is and being on so many teams, I think he has some ideas to help us finally break through and get another victory.” The meal at Arnaud’s the week of the Zurich Classic was another step in the year-long process Els is undertaking to piece together his roster. And there’s much more happening behind the scenes than strictly building relationships. WORDSCHRISCOXPGATOUR