2019 Presidents Cup Preview
This event is essentially the Golden Globes to the Ryder Cup’s Oscars. It is a biennial event that has failed to gain real traction due to the overwhelmingly one-sided nature of America’s dominance. The United States have won 10 of the 12 editions, with one tie and one defeat.
The 2019 Presidents Cup will be hugely amplified by the presence of Tiger Woods – exacerbated by his dual role as player/captain.
While not quite the omnipotent figure of Tiger past, he’s playing great golf and is set to resume a decades-long rivalry with International captain Ernie Els.
Wood and Els shared one of the defining moments in President’s Cup history. They halved a breath-taking playoff in the 2003, helping Gary Player to a share of the trophy alongside Jack Nicklaus.
Few will forget the sight of Els matching Woods in the dwindling African sunlight.
Royal Melbourne measures just a shade over 7,000 yards. It is a unique layout in that it features thirteen par 4’s, with three par 3’s and only two par 5’s. In theory, this should suit an International team that probably lacks the overall firepower of this imposing American outfit.
Team USA – Key Players
Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed
Clearly, this week will be judged through the spectrum of Tiger Woods who has always been a strong competitor in this event.
Justin Thomas enters this event in great form, having tasted success in the CJ Cup on the Asian Swing. He also flirted with contention at last week’s event in the Bahamas. Thomas was the best performer for the States at last year’s Ryder Cup and will be a huge presence this year.
Lastly, I can’t look past the burly presence of Patrick Reed. His recent conversion to International Man of Golf makes him a compelling presence during this away tie. He is also the heart and soul of the American juggernaut and will galvanize the American supporters.
Team USA – Possible Weak-links
Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau
Matt Kuchar largely qualified for this event on the basis of a dominant first half of 2018. Perhaps one of the potential weaknesses of this American side is that their period of point accumulation dates back to the 2017 BMW Championship. This does leave the door open to slightly undercooked players. Furthermore, Kuchar is the only American player with a negative win-loss ratio in President’s Cup golf.
Then you have the enigmatic figure of Bryson DeChambeau. He has been relatively quiet of late and had a simply disastrous outing at Le Golf National. He is a divisive figure who doesn’t seem to play well with others.
Team International – Key Players
Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Sungjae Im
Former Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen is the class act in the international field. Oosthuizen is one of the most consistent players in Major Championship golf and is the only player with a positive win-loss ratio in the President’s Cup. He enters this event in exceptional form, finishing 3rd behind McIlroy and Schauffele at the WGC. He also finished runner-up in last week’s event in Australia.
Adam Scott is a totemic figure in the side and the pride of Australia. If he plays well it could give some positive momentum to the side.
Sungjae Im was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year last season and will not be daunted going into this event.
Team International – Possible Weak-links 2019 Presidents Cup
CT Pan and Haotong Li
Haotong Li really qualified for this event on the basis of a hot 2018. His form this season has been largely unspectacular and it’s hard to see him being too competitive against the likes of Thomas and Schauffele.
CT Pan is the first player to ever qualify for this side from Chinese Taipei. His recent form has been non-existent and I struggle to see him making a huge impression this week.
Prediction – 2019 Presidents Cup
The International side simply have to enter the singles matches with some form of advantage.
It will be interesting to see how Ernie shuffles his deck. Will he split his marquee players or pair them for the maximum chance of picking up points?
But the Americans, led by the indomitable Tiger, are all set to dominate again. Look to Oosthuizen and Sungjae Im to be the most fiercely competitive of the International side.
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