Golf-Canada's Conners primed for daunting Presidents Cup challenge

The 150th Open Championship

(Reuters) - Canada's Corey Conners said the sting of missing out on the 2019 Presidents Cup motivated him to play his way onto this year's team and looks forward to the tough task of trying to help his International squad upset the United States.

Conners was strongly considered as a captain's pick in 2019 but left nothing to chance this year as he upped his game and was an automatic selection after finishing the PGA Tour season fourth on the international team standings.

"I was really close to making the team in 2019 in Australia and stung a little bit to not make the team," Conners told reporters on Wednesday ahead the PGA Tour's season-opening Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.

"Definitely motivated me to keep working hard to make sure I earned my spot on the team this time around."

Conners is coming off a season in which he had four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and qualified for the season-ending playoffs where he finished 26th in the Tour Championship.

The Presidents Cup pits a U.S. team against international players from outside Europe. The United States have dominated the competition, winning on 11 of the 13 occasions it has been held, including each of the last eight.

It could be a familiar scene next week at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a 12-man International team that was decimated by a wave of LIV Golf defections will try to pull off an upset of epic proportions.

The U.S. team features five of the world's top 10 players, including world number one and reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler.

"Definitely got a challenge ahead of us, the International Team, but we've got a young team, we're all hungry and it will be fun," said Conners.

The 30-year-old world number 25 has no past success at Quail Hollow to draw from but still considers it one of his favourite courses on tour.

"Has a bit of an Augusta (National) feel to it, beautifully manicured and great shape to some of the holes, a little bit up and down, but I've always really loved that golf course," said Conners.

"Haven't had any great finishes there, but I think it sets up well for my game."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)