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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Presidents Cup

I feel that I need to do a post on the Presidents Cup but I admit I'm at a bit of a loss. The Presidents Cup is important to golf as a whole, yet storylines don't jump out at me the way they often do at other events.

Steve Stricker and Nick Price pose with the Presidents Cup

The matches will begin on what is normally the 5th hole, which makes sense to me because most matches will end around the 18th hole (14th with the new routing). Match play is about getting the most exciting play, not about playing every hole. Not really a story, is it?

Team USA has already decided they won't be doing any protests like the NFL has been doing. Again, that makes sense to me. I realize the choice is probably driven as much by public opinion and perceived economic impact as anything, but the current protests are having a mixed effect. The fact is that most people don't want to deal with the real issues that caused the protests in the first place, so the public debate has become one about "respect" rather than the racial profiling and brutal treatment that prompted the whole thing. The existing protests are at least keeping people talking; it will take something else to focus the debate on the real issues -- things which are unlikely to happen at the Presidents Cup. So this isn't really a story either.

But ten of the 24 players are rookies, and only two of them are Captain's Choices. That's something that could potentially be a story. The Ryder Cup considers large numbers of rookies undesirable, so this event is where we get our best chance to see future team players. (A note: The Euros have other team events that they use to "break in" their new guys.)

With six rookies on the US team and four on the internationals, I actually believe this helps the Internationals. The US players may be rookies, but they're more used to playing together. (The Mickelson team practice rounds are legendary!) The Internationals will have two "vets" for each rookie, which should give them more potential pairings for getting production right out of the gate. Don't be surprised if the Internationals get off to a fast start this time.

Finally, I think the language issue is going to be much less important to the Internationals. I believe all of their players except Matsuyama and Kim speak English, and Matsuyama has been here before so that should be less of an issue for him this time. (And if I'm not mistaken, Matsuyama can understand some English, even if he's uncomfortable speaking it.) In addition, this is Price's third time as Captain. If I'm right, that all means the team dynamic should be much better for them this time around.

So who's going to win? As an American, of course I'm rooting for the US team. But I think this Cup is far less predictable that the others have been. I think the teams are much more evenly matched than the stats predict, and I won't be surprised if the Internationals pull an upset. I guess we'll know soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. You sure have in depth knowledge of golf and covered the whole event in such detail. I have never read or known so much about golf and their championships.