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All The Presidents Men

The biennial Presidents Cup is scheduled to begin this Thursday at Jack Nicklaus’s home at Muirfield Village GC in Ohio. The event is a four day team event pitting the best 12 American players against the Rest of The World team that can be comprised of any player from any country except Europe.

Thus far, in it’s almost 20 year history, the Presidents Cup has played a very secondary role to its much more compelling big brother, the Ryder Cup.

There are several reasons for that. Principal amongst those, would be that in the 9 events that have been played to date, the US team has beaten (and often very soundly)  the International team 7  times, with one year being declared a tie and the Internationals winning their only victory “at home” at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, in 1998.

For any event to be compelling it has to be a contest. So far, this has been about as one sided as an argument with, well umm, the President. 

And the Ryder Cup was equally boring until the European team started to be competitive in the 1980’s and then dominant from the mid 1990’s (winning five of seven Cups since 1995). We all love an underdog, but for us to keep watching the underdog has to win, sometimes.

There are differences between both events however, because  the Presidents Cup is played over 4 days (as opposed to the Ryder Cup which is 3 days) and the Presidents Cup format mandates that each player on a team must play more times. In the Ryder Cup, a Captain can “hide” players because only 8 of a team of 12 compete in all the two man formats (on the first two days) before everyone plays against each other other head-to-head in Sunday’s singles matches.

In the President’s Cup, every player plays in a match the first two days (12 vs. 12) of team (better ball and four-somes)  formats before a selective Saturday and “the everyone” plays singles matches on Sunday.

On paper, and that can be as flimsily as the stuff it’s written on, the Americans figure to dominate again. Stand up and salute if you have heard of Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace, Graham DeLaet, Richard Sterne, Marc Leishman (the first of two Captain’s Picks), or  Brendon de Jonge (the other Captain’s Pick). 

But that is why they play the game (did Herm Edwards first say that?).