The 12th edition of the Presidents Cup kicks-off later this week and if you want to get up to speed with one of the biggest team events in golf and do it quickly, then you’ve stopped at the right place.
The Presidents Cup is a series of golf matches between a team representing the United States and an International Team representing the rest of the world minus Europe (i.e. Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Oceania, Mexico and Canada).
The Presidents Cup has been held biennially since 1994. It is hosted alternately in the United States and in countries represented by the International Team.
Of the 11 matches, the United States team has won nine, the International Team has won one and one match has been tied.
Stats say United States dominance will continue
The average Official World Golf Ranking of the United States’ 12-man team is 16. In Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, they have the best, second best and fourth best players in the world at the moment.
On the contrary the Internationals don’t have quite so much quality. Their average Official World Golf Ranking is 33.
In Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day they have the world’s third best and seventh best players but outside of that they are lacking golfers who are currently on top of their game.
On that basis, smart money says the United States.
Price vs Stricker
With the above in mind Nick Price – captain of the International Team for the third time – will have to be on point with both his pairings and his words of inspiration to his players if they are going to stand any chance against a formidable opponent.
What is encouraging for the International Team though is that the Zimbabwean is not an entire stranger to success at the Presidents Cup.
He was one of the players representing the International Team who won for the first and only time back in 1998 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Steve Stricker, captain of the United States team, is making his debut as a Presidents Cup skipper but he knows what it takes to win for the Stars and Stripes.
As a player he has featured in five Presidents Cups (winning all of them) and three Ryder Cups (winning once).
The battle between the captains will be a fascinating one.
Liberty National Golf Club is quite a spot
The total cost to construct the host course for the 2017 Presidents Cup was a hefty 250 million dollars.
As a past oil terminal infiltrated with petroleum, lead and toxic waste, almost 90 per cent of that 250 million came from the expenses incurred during a superfund clean-up.
The American Taxpayer funded the operation.
The New Jersey track is just 860 yards from the Statue of Liberty – do not let down the Lady, gentleman, because she’ll be watching.
Lefty the legend
Phil Mickelson has played in every Presidents Cup dating to the inaugural event in 1994. He owns a 23-16-12 record.
He has a chance this week to pass Tiger Woods (24-15-1) for the most matches won in Presidents Cup history. However, he almost never made the cut. He was one of Stricker’s two Captain’s Picks.
“I played with Phil in a US Open at Bethpage (also in New Jersey), and it’s incredible how much support he gets from those people,” Stricker said of New York area sports fans.
“So hopefully he’ll use that to his advantage. He’ll be ready. He’s shown that over the years.
“Phil brings a unique dynamic to New York. He’s loved everywhere, but especially New York. He’s a favourite son.”
As similar as it may seem to the opposite-year Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup is very much a different entity.
The Presidents Cup includes 30 matches throughout four days (two more matches and one more day than the Ryder Cup).
On Thursday there will be five foursomes matches (alternate shot). On Friday there will be five four-ball matches (best ball). On Saturday there will be four foursomes matches and four four-ball matches. Finally, on Sunday there are 12 singles matches where every player will feature.
As the defending Champion, the United States need just 15 points to retain the trophy.