The Presidents Cup is often overlooked by the Ryder Cup, but that don't mean it's not a great event in its own right. The Presidents Cup has only been in existence a little over a decade, and it has already given the fans many great memories. The United States team has dominated this event for the most part, winning three out of the five competitions.
The International side's only victory came in 1998 at Royal Melbourne in Australia. The International team defeated the United States by nine points in one of the most lopsided wins in this event's short history. The United States bounced back in 2000, however, as they defeated their International opponents by eleven points!
The last Presidents Cup was played in 2003 in South Africa. The competition was tied going into the last singles match, and the outcome depended on the Tiger Woods vs. Ernie Els duel. The two traded shots all-day long, and they finished the 18th in a deadlock. After both players made clutch putts on the third playoff hole, darkness reared its ugly head. The two captains, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, agreed to end the Presidents Cup in a tie. Both teams have shared the cup ever since and will be battling it out for sole ownership this week.
The Presidents Cup schedule differs from the Ryder Cup schedule. There are 34 points up for grab in the Presidents Cup, compared to only 28 in the Ryder Cup. Foursomes kick off the action on Thursday morning. There will be six foursomes matches on Thursday. On Friday, there will be six four-ball matches throughout the day.
The action heats up on Saturday, with five foursomes matches in the morning and five four-ball matches in the afternoon. All in all, there will be ten points up for grabs on Saturday. As always, Sunday will be designated for the singles matches. Every member of both teams will play on Sunday, and there will be a total of 12 points up for grabs on the final day of play.
The United States Team
The best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, will be leading the United States team as he has for the past eight years. Woods has been dominant in singles play in his short Presidents Cup history. His record is a perfect 3-0. As good as that record is, Tiger's four-ball record is that much worse. He has yet to win a four-ball match, going 0-6 up to this point. Overall, Tiger's record is 8-7 in the Presidents Cup, and the outcome of this year's competition could depend on how well Mr. Woods plays.
Phil Mickelson is ranked right behind Tiger on the United States team. Mickelson has achieved very little success in the Presidents Cup, sporting an overall record of 6-12-5. On the other side of things, Davis Love III has won more matches than any golfer in Presidents Cup history. Love III has played in all five competitions, and his overall record is 14-6-3. Love III and Mickelson are the only two members of the United States team that have played in all five Presidents Cup matches to this point.
Another story everyone will be following this week is the condition of David Toms. Toms suffered from a rapid heart rate last Thursday at the 84 Lumber Classic and had to be carried off the golf course on a stretcher. He was rushed to the hospital and was in critical condition for awhile. Toms was released on Friday and still plans on playing in this week's Presidents Cup. David Toms' health is the most important thing, and hopefully he will be just fine. Toms will be playing in his second Presidents Cup and has an overall record of 1-4 in the event.
Jack Nicklaus is once again the captain for the United States team, and he picked Justin Leonard and Fred Couples as his two captain's picks. Both Leonard and Couples have a lot of experience in match-play events. Nicklaus made it clear he wanted experience on the United States team, and that is what he got. Leonard's overall record in the Presidents Cup is 3-9-1, while Couples is much better at 8-3-1.
The rest of the United States squad includes Kenny Perry, Chris DiMarco, Jim Furyk, Fred Funk, Stewart Cink, and Scott Verplank. Verplank is the only Presidents Cup rookie for the United States, but he was a captain's pick in the Ryder Cup last year.
The International Team
Now to the International side. Vijay Singh, the number two golfer in the world behind Tiger, will be leading his team into battle this week. Singh has had a great year in 2005, and he is no stranger to the Presidents Cup. Singh and Nick Price are the only two International players to play in all five competitions, but Price is not a part of the team this year. Vijay Singh has played in the majority of matches at the Presidents Cup, and his overall record is 12-11-2.
Another major story on the International side of things is the absence of Ernie Els. Els had knee surgery a couple months ago and won't be back until 2006. Els still qualified for the team, but he will not be competing this week. Els' absence will hurt the International team, both on the mental side and physical side of things.
The next in line for the International side are Retief Goosen and Adam Scott. Both golfers are ranked in the top ten in the world, and both have tasted victory in 2005 on more than one occasion. Goosen will be playing in his third Presidents Cup, while Scott will be playing in his second. Goosen's overall record is 5-5, and Adam Scott's overall record is 3-2. These two guys will need to come up big this week to give the International side any chance of bringing the cup back home.
Unlike the United States team, there are four rookies on the International team. Angel Cabrera, Nick O'Hern, Mark Hensby, and captain's pick Trevor Immelman will be making their Presidents Cup debut. All four rookies have played consistent golf the last couple years, but they will have to shake off the nerves in order to have success this week. The rookies will more than likely face more pressure than they ever have this week, and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.
Like Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player will also be a captain for the second time in a row. Player will have a lot of inexperienced guys on his team and will look to the veterans for leadership. Peter Lonard joins Immelman as the other captain's pick, and his overall record in the Presidents Cup is 2-2. Lonard's only experience in this event was in 2003. The rest of the International team includes Tim Clark, U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, Stuart Appleby, and Mike Weir.
The Presidents Cup will be played at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, the same course that hosted the inaugural Presidents Cup. The golf course is 7,245 yards long and par is 72. The course doesn't really fit either team any better than the other because there are so many different kinds of holes. There are lengthy par-5s, short par-4s, and lengthy par-3s. This course should be a very fair test of golf for both sides.
Most matches in the Presidents Cup will probably end on the last four holes at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. The four finishing holes are all par-4s, so accurate driving and great iron-play will be the key down the stretch this week. The 15th, 17th, and 18th are all fairly short, but the 16th is 470 yards and will be very critical all week. The tee shot will require a lot of distance to set up a middle-iron shot to the green. Short tee shots at the 16th will put the golfers behind the eight-ball.
It's tough for me to make an honest pick in the Presidents Cup because I am a United States citizen through and through. I honestly think the International team would win if they had Ernie Els, but that's obviously not the case. I'm going with the United States by a score of 18-16. I think the International team will be leading going into Sunday's singles matches, but the United States will pull out another amazing comeback and bring the Presidents Cup back home to the U.S.
The staff members here at The SandTrap made their predictions for the Presidents Cup, and you can read that article by clicking here.
The weather for the Presidents Cup should be awesome! The highs will be in the 80s on Thursday and Friday and in the upper-70s for the weekend. Both teams will be playing for money, but more importantly, they will be playing for pride! There are 34 points up for grabs, and each team will need 17.5 points to regain the cup. The Presidents Cup may not get as much attention as the Ryder Cup, but the players on both teams are still very competitive and want to win. The event can be seen on TNT and NBC this week at the following times:
Thu 1pm-6pm ET TNT Fri 12pm-6pm ET TNT Sat 8am-6pm ET NBC Sun 12pm-6pm ET NBC