The 12th Presidents Cup will be held at the spectacular Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey this week with the International team looking for only their second ever victory against the Americans.
In the eleven previous encounters between the US and International (golfers from anywhere outside of Europe and the US) Teams, the US have won on nine occasions. The sole International victory came in 1998 when the Peter Thomson led team beat Jack Nicklaus’ American team at Royal Melbourne 20.5 – 11.5.
The only other small taste of success for the Internationals came in South Africa in 2003.
With the light fading and Tiger Woods and Ernie Els tying their third playoff hole to decide a winner, team captains Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus deemed the trophy would be shared between the teams. A rule that holds to this day if the teams are tied at the end of play.
There are plenty of story-lines ahead of this week’s Presidents Cup at Liberty National including the International Teams desire to taste victory once more, especially after coming so close to raising the trophy in South Korea in 2015.
1. Geoff Ogilvy loves the golf course
Geoff Ogilvy is one of the assistant captain’s for the International Team this week and it’s clear from his article over at PGA Tour that he’s a fan of the host golf course, Liberty National.
Always insightful, Ogilvy’s piece on his two key holes at Liberty National is well worth a read – tying in his love of golf course architecture and a storing desire to see the International Team grab an unlikely win this week.
2. The missing apostrophe in Presidents Cup
Every Presidents Cup this question comes up: Where is the apostrophe?
The answer lies in the fact that the cup does not belong to anyone. It does not belong to all or a number of Presidents, nor does it belong to one President – so it’s not the possessive form such as Presidents’ Cup or President’s Cup. Instead, think of it as a Cup for all the Presidents. Got it?
3. Where to watch
FoxSports have the live coverage of the Presidents Cup into Australia. Most of it is in the early hours of the morning but the third day’s coverage starts at 10pm. If you’re still awake after the Grand Final’s stick around to watch. Full Australian TV Times here.
4. South African strength
The three South Africans (Schwartzel, Oosthuizen and Grace) have a great record at the Presidents Cup and just need some support from the rest of the team. Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace in particular were amazing in South Korea compiling a perfect 4-0-0 record across the first three days so expect to see them paired up again this week.
5. Tiger Woods
In a sign that Tiger Woods is still a big attraction on the golf course, there have already been plenty of crowds out at Liberty National to see the 14-time major winner stroll the fairways as an assistant captain on the US Team.
While we’re still not entirely sure what an assistant captain really does at the Presidents Cup, it’s going to be a buzz to see Woods back out on the golf course. We may see more of him than some of the lesser known golfers who are actually playing.
6. The first-timers
Remarkably there are 10 players making their Presidents Cup debuts in 2017, four on the International team and six on the US side including US Open champion Brooks Koepka and US PGA champ Justin Thomas.
4 – International Team: Emiliano Grillo, Adam Hadwin, Si Woo Kim and Jhonattan Vegas
6 – U.S. Team: Daniel Berger, Kevin Chappell, Charley Hoffman, Kevin Kisner, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas
7. The Australians must fire
None of the Aussies playing this week have a winning record at the Presidents Cup and need to finally make their mark on this event to support the South Africans.
Marc Leishman (3 wins, 4 losses, 1 halve) is the form player in the International team and will dominate this week. Leish knocked off Spieth in a huge upset on the final day in South Korea so Captain Price will know he can rely on him to face up against any one on the US team.
For someone as competitive as Jason Day (4-8-3) on the golf course his record also hasn’t been great with just four wins in his three Presidents Cup appearances. Day looks to be coming into form over the past two weeks and needs to take the team to an early lead.
Adam Scott (13-17-5) had a nightmare on the greens in South Korea over the first three days before making bombs from everywhere to smash Rickie Fowler 6&5 on Sunday. As the most experienced player in the team he needs to come out of the blocks strong on Thursday for the team to have any chance of winning this year.
8. Anirban Lahiri
Nick Price’s captains pick of India’s Anirban Lahiri raised a few eyebrows considering his heart-breaking finish to the 2015 Presidents Cup. Lahiri missed a 2-footer that would have gifted the Internationals at least a tie in South Korea and his selection may be partly due to give him a shot at redemption.
9. The very International Internationals
Eight countries are represented by the 12 International team players this year; equaling the record set in 2000 and 2009. Venezuela will be represented for the first time by Jhonattan Vegas and Emiliano Grillo becomes just the second Argentinian golfer to play in the Presidents Cup after Angel Cabrera.
10. The next generation is here
Perhaps not surprisingly given the surge of the next generation of golfers on to the world stage (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler), both Presidents Cup teams are the youngest in history. The average age of the US Team is 31.8-years old, while the International Team is 30.3-years old.