He expects a playing captain Tiger Woods to inspire his troops, but Geoff Ogilvy believes the US captain is gifting the Internationals an early advantage by scheduling his Hero World Challenge tournament the week before the Presidents Cup.

Shortly after Woods announced Fred Couples, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson as three of his assistants for the biennial matches at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in December, Ogilvy spoke of his role as an assistant to Internationals captain Ernie Els.

Playing this week’s ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth event at Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Ogilvy revealed that he will make one of few appearances on the US PGA Tour this year at the Zurich Classic at New Orleans, where those in contention to represent the Internationals will be encouraged to take part in the two-man teams event.

As they work to break a 21-year winless drought, it is a clear statement of intent from the Internationals as Ogilvy questioned how the American team will cope flying from the Bahamas to Melbourne a few days before the matches commence.

“I don’t think him playing would be a disadvantage,” Ogilvy said of Woods becoming the first playing captain since Hale Irwin for the US in the inaugural matches in 1994.

“It might actually be an inspiration to the younger American guys in the team but the logistics of flying from the Bahamas Sunday and trying to play in Melbourne on Thursday, that’s a big trip. That’s an advantage for us. If they’re coming across 13 time zones two days before the tournament starts, that’s a massive advantage for us, I would think.”

Having served as an assistant captain at Liberty National in 2017 and a Ryder Cup vice-captain in 2016, when Woods was announced as the American captain, the likelihood of the 14-time Major champion playing his way onto the team seemed low. But a remarkable 2018 in which he contended in both the Open Championship and the US PGA Championship before winning the Tour Championship has put Woods in the frame to play his way onto the team over the next six months.

“They talk about that happening every time and it never really comes to fruition,” Ogilvy said of a playing captain. “The captain ends up not making it but I think Tiger will make it. His competitive drive is such that he wouldn’t be able to leave it alone, he’d want to do it.

“They let us have so many assistants and so many carts and so many keys at that tournament that I don’t think it would be too big a distraction to have your captain teeing it up. Really, the captain doesn’t do anything while they’re out on the golf course. Not really.”

Ogilvy was just a month into his career as a professional when the Internationals triumphed at Royal Melbourne in 1998 and is desperate to witness that winning feeling once again. He and Els both served as assistants to Nick Price two years ago and said that the seeds for their approach to the 2019 tournament were sown on US soil.

“Ernie and I were both assistants in New York last time and we were talking a lot about what we’re going to do next time,” Ogilvy said. “It wasn’t anything that was different from ‘Pricey’, but just ideas he has picked up playing every Presidents Cup up until the last one.

“A more competitive guy than anyone I have ever met, Ernie Els. Hyper competitive, so he’s very motivated. He’s been very active on the e-mails and the messages, he’s leaving no stone unturned, I’ll say that much. I think he’ll be a great captain.”

Key to the preparation for the Internationals will be in New Orleans where they will work on pairings and team unity seven months out from the matches at Royal Melbourne.

“We’ve got some e-mails and WhatsApp groups going around to try to work out some pairings for New Orleans because it is such a great opportunity. We never get to play best-ball and foursomes in a tournament,” Ogilvy explained.

“We know the pairings that work, try a few different ones, flying a little bit less by the seat of your pants during the week of the Presidents Cup because we’ll have a little bit of a measure from New Orleans. And it will be a bonding week. We’re all going to get in the same hotel in the same area; New Orleans is a good week to eat and drink and be merry and enjoy company.”