Just before the start of the Presidents Cup, the staff of The Sand Trap .com made some predictions. By now, of course, you know that the United States won the Presidents Cup, 18½-15½ over a strong International team. You know that Chris DiMarco holed a clutch 15-footer to seize the 18th and critical point. You know that Phil Mickelson is the only player to halve his match on Sunday, and that Tiger Woods lost in singles - a rare occurrence.
Let's see how our predictions held up.
The staff by and large predicted a win for the United States, with only Jeff Smith (17½-16½) predicting any less than 18½ points for the United States. Donald MacKenzie nailed the final tally, 18½-15½, but five others (Jeff, Erik, Cody, Everardo, and Josh) were within one point. The worst predictions belong to Dave Koster (21-13) and Brian Whittaker (22-12).
The honor of most points won belongs to both Chris DiMarco (4-0-1) and Retief Goosen (4-0-1), a pair of polar opposites on the golf course. Only Cody Thrasher, who chose Chris DiMarco to win 4 points, and Josh Premuda, who listed Retief Goosen, chose the two top point-getters. Jeff and I chose Tiger Woods to earn 4½ - he won 2½. Dave Koster chose Davis Love III to win 4 - he too won 2½. Everardo Keeme chose Phil Mickelson, and Phil came close with 4 points. Brian Whittaker and Donald MacKenzie chose Kenny Perry and Fred Couples, respectively, Fred managed only 1½ and Kenny even less with one solitary point.
The final records, for those interested, are as follows:
Name W L T Points Tiger Woods 2 2 1 2½ Phil Mickelson 3 0 2 4 David Toms 1 3 0 1 Kenny Perry 1 3 0 1 Chris DiMarco 4 0 1 4½ Jim Furyk 3 0 2 4 Fred Funk 0 2 2 1 Stewart Cink 1 3 1 1½ Davis Love III 2 2 1 2½ Scott Verplank 2 2 1 2½ Justin Leonard 3 1 1 3½ Couples 1 2 1 1½
Name W L T Points Vijay Singh 0 2 3 1½ Retief Goosen 4 0 1 4½ Adam Scott 3 1 1 3½ Angel Cabrera 1 1 3 2½ Tim Clark 2 2 1 2½ Michael Campbell 2 1 2 3 Stuart Appleby 0 4 1 ½ Mike Weir 2 2 0 2 Nick O'Hern 2 3 0 2 Mark Hensby 1 2 1 1½ Peter Lonard 2 2 0 2 Trevor Immelman 1 3 0 1
Erik J. Barzeski and Josh Premuda pointed at Fred Funk for a let-down, and with only one point, he was the lowest American point-earner along with David Toms and Kenny Perry (both of whom earned a win - Funk only earned two halves). Erik was right.
Cody Thrasher suspected Tiger Woods would be a disappointment. With 2½ points, it's tough to call this a disappointing loss, particularly after a thrilling battle on Sunday. Cody was wrong.
Dave Koster threw Mike Weir under the bus, but the scrappy left earned two points in a losing effort while one member of this team earned only ½ (Stuart Appleby) and five others earned as many points or less. Dave was wrong.
Everardo Keeme didn't choose anyone, hedging his bets by saying "one of the Americans who has been stuggling as of late." Here at The Sand Trap .com, we put our money where our mouth is. Everardo was disqualified for being a weenie.
Brian Whittaker chose Phil Mickelson, who was nearly the top American point-earner with a 3-0-2 record. Brian was wrong.
Jeff Smith lay the burden of "biggest disappointment" on Vijay Singh. Vijay managed to earn 1½ points through three ties. Several players earned less on both teams. Jeff was wrong.
Erik J. Barzeski chose International Team Chemistry versus American putting, and American putting was certainly on fire this week, yet we heard little about how "closely knit" the International team was. Who won? The Americans with their putting, and Erik with this choice. Erik was right.
Cody Thrasher chose the first foursomes match on Thursday. The International Team won handily, 4&3, and were up 3-2 at the end of Thursday, but lost the Presidents Cup. Cody was wrong.
Dave Koster believed the key matchup would lie in the International Rookies vs. the less experienced Americans. The American "youngsters" dominated, and the US won the matches while the International rooks faltered. Everardo Keeme similarly supposed that the American team would easily handle the International rookies, and that was, for the most part, true. Dave and Everardo were right.
Josh Premuda figured that the Couples/Woods pairing (which lost 4&3 in the Thursday Foursomes) would set the tone for the matches. Couples never paired with Woods after that loss, and Josh was wrong.
Brian Whittaker listed experience vs. inexperience. The Americans had more experience and won the matches, so Brian was right.
Donald MacKenzie cited Tiger Woods vs. the clock, saying that Woods would be looking for Sunday night to roll around so he could get out of there. Woods, however, seemed to have his most enjoyable Presidents or Ryder Cup experience to date. Donald was wrong.
Jeff Smith took Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell versus anyone. With 4-0-1 and 2-1-2 records, respectively, Goosen and Campbell handled things well enough. Though their team lost, Jeff was right.
Photo Credit: © AP.