TTHE PRESIDENTS CUP UNDERWAY DOWN UNDER
Professional golfing fans worldwide eagerly await the famous Ryder Cup Competition which pits the best golfers from the European circuit against the top pros from the United States of America every two years.
A lesser known, but very similar, event takes also place biennially, this time featuring the best of the American golfers on the PGA tour against the whole rest of the world, excluding Europe. It’s called the Presidents Cup and has only been around since 1994; and has so far been dominated by the teams from the USA.
For 2019 the big event is taking place down under at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia. Unlike normal golf matches where the guy with the lowest score wins, both the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup tournaments use a format known as ‘match play’, which even some seasoned golf fans still have difficulty grasping.
Match play uses a format known as ‘Foresome’ aka alternate shot golf. Each hole is played by two teams of two players each, but only two balls. The players take turns shooting until the ball is sunk, and team members also take turn teeing off on alternate holes. Each hole scores a winner and a loser.
In Presidents Cup competition the ‘Foresome’ format is alternated with the ‘Fourball’ format, which once again consists of two teams of two on each hole, but this time each player plays his own ball and the lowest score among the two counts for the team on that hole. ‘Fourball is also known as ‘best ball’.
Basically match play involves pitting two players from each side and determining winners and losers after each hole is played. Each team consists of a Captain, this year Tiger Woods for the USA and Ernie Els for the International Team, who then selects 4 players, in addition to the first 8 automatic selections, plus two alternates and 3 assistants.
To date the teams from the USA have dominated the Presidents Cup competitions and with 12 or the top 24 ranked golfers in the world on the USA roster, it appears that they will be the favorites going into the matches once again in 2019. The top eight slots are won by the 8 golfers who have accumulated the most FedExCup points between the 2017 and the 2019 BMW Championships.
Tiger Woods, as team Captain, has the next four picks and well and naming the alternates and of course his assistants. This year’s Team USA consists of Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeChambeau making up the top 8 FedExCup leaders, then Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed as the personal choices of team Captain Tiger Woods.
Captain Woods also named Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker as his assistants for the tournament and Chez Reavie and Kevin Kisner as the alternates should anything happen to one of the principals.
Legendary South African golfer Ernie Els captains the International Team for 2019 and once again the top eight spots on the roster were won by the leading golfers on the International tour between August 2018 and August 2019. They are Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Pan Cheng-tsung and Camaron Smith with the Captain’s selections consisting of Jason Day, Jazz Janewatananond, Justin Harding and Corey Conners.
Some of the greatest golfers on the planet will be in Melbourne for this great competition. Those lucky enough to be in the galleries will witness some truly legendary links heroes in action. But there is no purse money awarded to the winners of the Presidents Cup Tourney, no millions of dollars in prize money, no fancy sports cars given out.
Instead, all proceeds from the event will go, as they always do, to charities nominated by the players, the captains and the captains assistants. So far the Presidents Cup events have raised over $32,000,000 for charities around the world.