This Week in Golf
Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.
The Presidents Cup is underway in South Korea. The American team has more higher ranked players but the Internationals have some untested players who could help stage an upset. Is this the year the Americans lose the Cup?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): Doubt it. Not unless they get food poisoning.
Jim Kenesky, PGA (@JimKeneskyGolf): No. The American team is too strong and deep. Even with lots of Asian presence on the team to make home soil more meaningful, the Americans experience will be too much for the Internationals.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Not bloody likely! Unless the Internationalies can channel the essence of the late Exalted Leader, President Kim Jong-Il, from north of the border, who, despite having the worst hair cut in the solar system, allegedly shot 38 under par on a championship course, including 11 holes-in-one, on the first day he ever picked up a golf club. Get Nick Price 12 guys like that and he has a chance.
Craig Loughry, GAO Director of Handicapping (@craigloughry): No chance. The US team is too deep in comparison to lose this one. And there is a little more pride on the line for the US squad after losing the Ryder Cup – they’ll take some angst out on the Internationals.
Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): This is definitely not the year that the Internationals steal the Cup away. That American team is just so good. Five Top 10 players without Furyk compared to one for the International side. Also, Adam Scott, who would normally be relied upon heavily to lead in this situation, is using a short putter for the first time in a while. It was not pretty last time. I doubt it will go much better this week.
Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: I recall the great play of Els and Eldrick in the dark at Fancourt and the agreement to call it a night (and a draw). I remember watching Weir beat Eldrick in Montreal from a few miles down the road in rural Vermont in the company of a bar full of “U!S!A!” chanting mouth breathers. That’s it for the Prez Cup scrapbook. I guess it would be good if — what are they called? Internationals? — the ‘team’ of non-Europeans won something of absolutely no importance just to not have to listen to that chant.
Captain Jay Haas replaced injured Jim Furyk with JB Holmes who was 12th on the points list. Good move or should he have looked down the list?
Loughry: Good move. JB is playing great and he’s earned his way back to playing for the US. He had a long road to recovering from brain surgery. It’s a great story that needs to be told and I’m sure will be amplified this week.
Kenesky: Good pick in my books. JB had a great first half and will mesh well with other bombers on the team.
Mumford: So politically correct! Pick the next guy in line. Why? Because he missed qualifying for the team by less points than some other guys. If you miss, you miss. Haas should go real deep and pick somebody that can develop into a solid team player for years to come. Maybe Daniel Berger or Justin Thomas. I know, it sounds like heresy to suggest that a 22-year old could help the team.
Quinn: Sorry Furyk is hurting but his pre-shot routine does not translate in any language and will not be missed. It should be a gentleman’s agreement that the next guy in the rankings is offered any vacated spot. If he declines, then the captain could go deeper. Haas had already insulted enough players by going too deep to select Phil.
Deeks: Maybe not a good move but a fair move. I think of JB as a fairly streaky player, but to be fair, the next guy in the eligibility list should be the guy who’s chosen.
Kaplan: JB Holmes, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, oh my. This team now has a nice mix of extreme length and crafty short-game players. Great move.
Does the fact that Team USA dominates this bi-annual challenge diminish its appeal or will it always play second fiddle to the Ryder Cup? How could the Presidents Cup be improved so that it captures a larger audience?
Kenesky: It’s tough. I think it will always play second fiddle. I honestly believe the President’s Cup should be contested between the PGA Tour and European Tour with at least six players on each team being of International residence. That may create some interesting dynamics and pairings.
Deeks: “Always” is a long time, and if it is in fact, always, then I think the competition will die within two or three meetings (if it doesn’t die with this one, in Korea, from lack of interest.) I’m frankly astounded that the International teams have been doormats to the Americans for these 20 or so years. I just don’t think they’re any worse or better than the Euro teams, at least on paper; but unfortunately they get waxed, like wax paper (har-de-har-har). Anyway, if they want to stand apart from the Ryder Cup, they should change the format… maybe just do three days of mana-a-mano singles matches.
Kaplan: It’s definitely no Ryder Cup, but it still has lots of appeal. It wouldn’t hurt to take a look at the current format and figure out something that will be more exciting involving a bracket. Half of the allure of March Madness and the WGC Match Play is the bracket. Brackets for 500, Alex.
Quinn: I have all these awful visions of Presidents Bush (Senior and Junior) riding around in Golf Cart Ones, smiling and waving at people not looking at them. This thing can never come close to the Ryder Cup for interest, drama, and/or significance. It might be improved if it is played as a mixed event, or one confined to players under a certain age. If they want a larger audience, they’d have to make it Asia versus the States, along the lines of the LPGA Tour.
Loughry: It will always play second fiddle to the Ryder Cup, ALWAYS. They’ll never have the history or rivalry. That said, it’s still a great event and will receive great global coverage.
Mumford: The Ryder Cup has way too much history for the Presidents Cup to catch up but they could be combined so that every fall we witnessed a compelling international match. If the winner of the Presidents Cup got to play the defending Ryder Cup champion the following year, that could elevate the matches into a significant three team rivalry. You can just imagine the screaming if the U.S. had to sit on their hands while Europe and the Internationals contested the Ryder Cup.