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Monday, December 16, 2019

The Limerick Summary: 2019 Presidents Cup

Winner: Team USA, 16-14

Around the wider world of golf: The team of Kevin Tway and Rory Sabbatini won the QBE Shootout, the PGA Tour's unofficial team event formerly known as the Shark Shootout; and Jazz Janewattananond won the BNI Indonesian Masters on the Asian Tour.

The victorious Team USA with the Cup

There is no Twofer Tuesday update this week, as there was no individual competition in the field. There was just Team USA and Team International.

And as impressive as Tiger was (my gosh, you have to wonder what we might see in 2020!) and as well as the US team played (they really showed some resilience in those second and fifth rounds), I want to spend some time talking about the International team. Because while Team USA was certainly impressive, what Ernie Els has done with his team has qualitatively changed the Presidents Cup moving forward.

In my Twofer Tuesday post this week I wrote that the International team was being terribly underestimated. I wrote that I expected some new leaders to emerge. And I summed it up this way:
So while I think the US will win, I won't be surprised if the Internationals manage an upset.
I was right on the first two counts and was almost right on the third one. And while I may have an unusual take on this, I think I know why the International team didn't pull it off.

They were so successful that they shocked themselves, and they simply weren't prepared for it.

While they believed in principle that they had a chance to win, I think that second round caught them completely off-guard. It's one thing to get yourself into a position to win; it's quite another thing to find yourself on the verge of being 9-1 after only ten matches, which would have made losing virtually impossible. Seriously, when you only need 5.5 points and you have 20 matches to make them, a team of their caliber simply isn't going to lose -- even if Tiger Woods IS the other team's captain!

It may have been their first time in this position, but I doubt it will be their last. I do think Ernie will be back as their captain for the next Presidents Cup, simply because the International Team will want him to continue the work he began in this one. The vision of his team, particularly the younger members, has been stretched far beyond what any of them believed possible even a week ago.

The Presidents Cup is on the verge of becoming... BIG.

In the meantime, I salute Team USA for weathering the storm down in Australia and keeping the Cup. But it was more difficult than anyone expected and their Limerick Summary acknowledges that fact.
The contest went down to the wire.
Fueled by International fire
The end was dramatic—
If somewhat erratic—
But Tiger’s boys won their desire.
The photo came from this page at fox64charlotte.com.

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