The Presidents Cup began in 1994, with the U.S playing an international field of golfers from non-European countries. This event was created because there were a number of golf professionals that couldn’t play in the coveted Ryder Cup.
The Presidents Cup is played during years that the Ryder Cup doesn’t play. This allows for a team event to be played every year. Countries represented this year for the International team include: Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Chinese Taipei, Chile, Canada, South Korea and Australia.
The problem that I see is that, after 13 meetings U.S. has 11 wins, International has one win, and there was one tie. The only tie was a gentleman’s agreement between captains Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, when darkness came after a three-hole playoff.
The above record shows that this event just isn’t competitive.
Next week, Dec. 9-15, the Presidents Cup will be played in Australia at the Royal Melbourne Course. Practice rounds are held the first three days; the matches begins Dec. 12.
This is the third time that the Presidents Cup has been held at this course. In 1998, the U.S. won by the second largest margin, 20 and one-half points to 11 and one half points. The only win that the International team has was at Royal Melbourne in 2011, 19 points to 15 points.
This year, the captains are Tiger Woods for the United States and Ernie Els for the International team. The International team has six rookies while the U.S. team has four.
One of the interesting aspects of the matches is that each captain had four captain’s picks, and Woods used one of his picks on himself – making him a playing captain, which should be interesting.
Woods also picked Patrick Reed, who is a controversial player. His other captain’s picks are Tony Finau and Gary Woodland.
Ernie Els chose as his captain’s picks Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Joaquin Neimann and Sung Jae Im.
A week after the captain’s picks, the U.S. top-ranked player, Brooks Koepka, got injured and was replaced by Rickie Fowler, ranked 21. The highest ranking of an International player is Adam Scott at 17. Conversely, the U.S. team includes six of the top 10 players in the world rankings.
The format of the tournament is: Day One: 5 fourball matches; Day Two: 5 foursome matches; Day Three: 4 fourball matches in the morning, 4 foursome matches in the afternoon; and Day Four: 12 single matches.
My prediction for the outcome: U.S. 20 points, International 10.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com