Team USA wins the President’s Cup

The President’s Cup is complete and the Americans have won it again, 19 -15. The President’s Cup, a tournament that pits Team USA again the Team International – non-European players – is sometimes considered a step-child to the Ryder Cup. The tournament was played in Melborne at the Royal Melbourne course against a strong international team captained by Greg Norman. Team International included Jason Day, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, K.J. Choi, Kim Kyung-tae, Retief Goosen, Geoff Ogilvy, Ernie Els, Y.E. Yang, Ryo Ishikawa, Robert Allenby, and Aaron Baddeley. International team players are chosen based on the Official World Golf Ranking through the 2011 BMW Championship.

Team USA, captained by Fred Couples, included Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnon, Webb Simpson, Nick Watney, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, David Toms, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Bill Haas, and Tiger Woods. The selection of Tiger Woods as a captain’s pick was the subject of much conjecture as Tiger has lost his top 50 placement and hasn’t won a tournament in 2 years. But Tiger proved that he could still play under pressure by holing 6 birdies, including the winning point.

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Team International started strong, taking an early lead in the tournament. But the team had a difficult time in the foursomes, traditionally a weak format for the Internationals. Team USA went into the final day with a 13-9 lead, insurmountable for Team International. Team USA now leads the tournament format 7-1-1.

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Team International asked for a format change prior to the tournament – to reduce the number of foursomes played. This is a format that is not often played – Team USA only plays the Ryder and the President’s Cup in this format. But these are professional golfers. It seems strange to me that they can’t be successful at an alternative shot format. These are very accomplished individuals; what makes the alternate shot format more difficult than the traditional stroke play? What do you think?