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Golf legend Nick Price ready for Presidents Cup battle

October 1, 2013 -- Updated 1355 GMT (2155 HKT)
Nick Price has won three major titles and claimed 15 PGA titles.
Nick Price has won three major titles and claimed 15 PGA titles.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nick Price will captain the international team int the Presidents Cup
  • Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker all set to feature for U.S. team
  • Adam Scott, Jason Day, Ernie Els amongst big names for international side
  • International team have won just once -- back in 1998

(CNN) -- Nick Price is not one to shy away from a battle.

He is a hardened warrior -- a man who has fought on the golf course and on the soil of his beloved Zimbabwe.

He lost his father when he was a child before watching his friends die during the Rhodesian war.

And yet now, at the age of 56, he remains philosophical about his life -- one in which he emerged to become one of the greatest to have ever played the game of golf.

"I'm so grateful to my family for instilling values since an early age," Price told CNN's Living Golf.

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"I've carried them through me throughout this time.

"I lost my father when I was 10 and sometimes that has an adverse effect on the family but for us it brought us closer together.

"It was a huge time in my life. I went to the military for a year-and-a-half and all those things shape you.

"You can't go through life without help and support. I've had a great time.

"When you think of how I started playing golf I still have to pinch myself every now and againt because this is my life."

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Price, who will captain the international team at this week's Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village, Ohio, has taken the long road to the top.

Born in South Africa and raised in Rhodesia, before it became Zimbabwe, Price spent his time as a child hitting plastic balls at tomato cans.

It was only in 1974 at the age of 17 when he won the Optimist Junior World title at Torrey Pines in San Diego that he realized he could make a career in golf.

I lost my father when I was 10 and sometimes that has an adverse effect on the family, but for us it brought us closer together.
Nick Price

From there he was catapulted to stardom -- winning three major titles and claiming 15 PGA wins during an illustrious career which saw him stay at No.1 in the world in 1994 for 43 consecutive weeks.

But there is one victory away from all of his personal success which stands out -- the victory of the international team over the U.S. at the 1998 Presidents Cup at Melbourne.

The tournament which pitches a U.S. team of 12 against a team of non-Europeans has been held every two years since 1994 and includes two rounds of foursomes, two rounds of four balls and a singles finale.

For a man who has played in five of these tournaments, Price is only too aware of how glorious victory would be, especially following the 19-15 defeat two years ago.

And yet the prospect of beating the U.S. brings up conflicting feelings for Price, who says he could "never repay the country for what it has given me."

"Our three kids were born here and I've just had the best time ever here," said Price, who lives in Florida.

I don't want to see them become enemies for one week -- what I want is to see is great competition.
Nick Price

"Honestly, I sometimes get recognized more often here than I do in my own home country, which is kind of sad.

"I had more awards and everything given to me in this country than I did in my own country, which hurts a lot.

"What has happened in the country in the last 33 years is not what we all expected."

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History is not on Price's side -- the U.S. has dominated the competition, losing just once and being held once in the previous nine editions.

The international team boasts an array of talent including Masters champion Adam Scott, four-time Major winner Ernie Els, Argentina's two-time Major winner Angel Cabrera and South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen.

Price believes that victory for his side is vital if the competition is to recapture the imagination of the public with the dominance of the Americans leaving several golf fans disillusioned with the dual.

But while he expects passions to run high, Price wants his men to keep their cool against Tiger Woods and co.

"I'm a big one for confrontations," said Price. "I keep telling my guys, 'let's go out and win this cup.'

"I don't want to see them become enemies for one week -- what I want to see is great competition.

"I want to see them go out there and want to beat each other and look at each other in the eye after you've finished and say 'congratulations, you played better today.'

"I don't want people coming up with excuses and walking off the greens while the other player is putting.

"To me that brings the whole game into a very sad state."

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The U.S. team boasts a wealth of talent and experience with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner lining up alongside world No.1 Woods.

Price realizes his team faces a difficult challenge to triumph in Columbus, Ohio but says he will do all that he can as captain to inspire his men to a momentous victory.

"Being captain is a doubled edged sword -- it can hurt you and it can help you a lot," he said.

"I'm trying to be a captain that is going to be very supportive of my team but not over captain them and there's a very fine line between that.

"You want to give the guys advice. I'm certainly not in the Seve Ballesteros type -- running out over the course and saying 'hit here and do this' but that was Seve, that was the way guys expected when he was captain.

"I just want them to know I'm going to be there to support them in anything they need to know or need to use me as a sounding board. I'm going to be there."

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