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A Three-Peat Repeat

The Presidents Cup this past weekend at Muirfield Village Golf Club (aka Jack’s Place) in Ohio was another one-sided conquest for the American team.

It was the eighth time in 10 events that the US has won. This version will probably be best remembered for the massive amounts of rain that almost washed away Muirfield.

This one was pretty much over half way through the event. The International team had kept the matches close for the first two days and trailed only by a single point before the marathon that was Saturday’s third day of competition.

In the 10 matches contested on Saturday (although three would not be concluded until Sunday morning), the Americans won 7 ½ of the possible 10 points to give themselves an 8 point lead heading into the final 12 Singles matches. That meant that The Internationals would need to win 8 ½ of the possible 12 points on the last day to win.

For the very briefest of moments on Sunday the faint flicker of hope was lit for the Internationals as they staged a spirited rally that saw the US lead at 17-12 with five matches left on the course. At one time the US led one-up in one of those matches, tied in another and trailing in the remaining three. This however, was not to be the “Miracle at Medinah”.

The world’s #1 ranked player, Tiger Woods played exactly like that for 4 days and finished with the best record of any player in the event going 4-1 in his 5 matches. Fittingly it would be Woods who would clinch the Cup for the US with his 2 and 1 victory over South African rookie, Richard Sterne.

The biggest reason that The Presidents Cup has been such a one sided affair is the lack of depth on the International team. The top half of the International team includes superstars like Adam Scott, Ernie Els; Major Champions like Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera and Louis Oosthuizen, and soon-to-be superstar Jason Day. If the Internationals could field a team of 12 players of this caliber and not 6, the event might become as competitive as the Ryder Cup.

It would also become more competitive if the first two days of matches were a selected group of 8 players playing 4 matches as opposed to making all 12 players play a match on both days. In this way a team can ride a ‘hot’ player by playing them twice as they do in the Ryder Cup.

Internationals Captain Nick Price had this to say afterwards, “There’s lots of changes I would like to see but I don’t think we should discuss those now. Let’s let the Americans enjoy this win and let’s look to the future as to what we can do to make this perhaps more competitive, Let’s let the dust settle and then look and see which way we’re going to go to the future on this. I brought a pretty good team here and they played great golf. But the Americans just played phenomenal golf.”   

Price was and is too gracious to be a bad sport but there were underlying points that he was making with that statement.

For America’s beloved Captain, Fred Couples, this will be his swansong leading the US team. After his third consecutive winning Captaincy, the so very cool Fred had this to say, “A three-peat’s good enough for me.”

The final result was 18 ½ points to 15 ½. That score may reflect that the Cup was a closer contest than it really was.