It may not have the makings of an intense rivalry or that gritty us-versus-them mentality of the Ryder Cup, but the Presidents Cup is no slouch.
Set to tee off Thursday at the Jack Nicklaus Club in Incheon City, South Korea, the Presidents Cup matches the best golfers in the U.S. against an international team of golfers outside of Europe. So instead of Sergio Garcia, we’ll be getting Jason Day. Not a bad consolation prize.
Here are three reasons you will want to stay close to the action:
Heck, how can you not watch this guy play? The 22-year-old is absolutely on fire, having just won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup and being named the PGA Tour Player of the Year. The No. 1-ranked player in the world has won five times this year, including the Masters and the U.S. Open. He was taken as a late captain’s pick in the 2013 Presidents Cup. This time around he very well could be leading the U.S. team to victory.
Unlike the Ryder Cup, the Americans actually win this thing. The U.S. has won eight of the last 10 events since it started in 1994. And one of the other two ended in a tie. The lone win for the International team came in 1998 at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. The odds are stacked against the International team again, as Jason Day is the only player ranked in the top 10 for that side. The Americans, meanwhile, have six.
Match Play a Rare Treat
Match play is a different animal, a format tour pros rarely play. It’s always fun to watch them have to strategize their game plan on every shot. Four-ball and foursome matches will be played Thursday-Saturday with the singles matches coming on the last day. Each player participates in two of the first four sessions and every player competes in the Sunday singles matches.
The U.S. team is led by Spieth, who is joined by Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Chris Kirk, Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker and Bill Haas.
Joining Day on the International team are fellow Australians Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and captain’s pick Steven Bowditch, South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, New Zealander Danny Lee, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, India’s Anirban Lahiri and captain’s pick Sangmoon Bae of South Korea.
Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years.