Presidents Cup: Why inexperience doesn’t prevent optimism for International Team against Team USA | Golf News


Trevor Immelman wants to lead the international team to a historic Presidents Cup victory on American soil

Trevor Immelman wants to lead the international team to a historic Presidents Cup victory on American soil

To gauge the scope of the Presidents Cup, it’s best to go back in time – 28 years to be precise – to when this international team golf tournament was established.

It was Tim Finchem’s idea back when he was deputy to PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman. But when Beman handed the reins to Finchem in early summer 1994, he was struggling to put the pedal to the metal in his debut Presidents Cup.

The naysayers lined up, but Finchem firmly believed that great players from across the borders of America and Europe deserved to compete on the global stage in an international team competition. Should you point to the one-sided results – the Americans are 11-1-1 and have won eight straight games – you would be a terrible point loser.

The Presidents Cup was about bringing the game a little closer together because, Finchem stressed, global golf is here to stay. He knew it was going to be a bit awkward at first, but he asked for patience and offered a vision that many people struggled with.

A recap of the best of the fourth and final day of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

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A recap of the best of the fourth and final day of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

A recap of the best of the fourth and final day of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

That means there would come a day when the world’s best players would compete in the same tournaments dozens of times a year, and American golf fans would know the international stars pretty well. If he were the guy who seeks the limelight, Finchem might take a bow. But instead, let’s take a measurement to show how beautifully his vision has evolved.

In 1994, half the international team had to present themselves to their American counterparts at the Robert Trent Jones Club in Gainesville, Virginia. Australia’s Bradley Hughes had competed in just six PGA Tour tournaments this season, while Zimbabwe’s Mark McNulty (five), Australia’s Peter Senior (three) and Frank Nobilo (two) had competed in even fewer. Australia’s Robert Allenby and Japan’s Tsukasa Watanabe didn’t play at all.

In all, the 12 International Team members combined for just 141 PGA Tour tournaments in 1994, which is in no way an indictment of them.

It’s a reminder of the era when global traffic was limited to the best names in the world, and while the Presidents Cup back then might appeal to those fascinated by players they know little about, Finchem was convinced that the The size of the competition that would do so would grow as American fans were educated on the Aussies and South Africans, the South Americans and the Canadians.

“In 20 years,” Finchem told reporters at the time, “we can have an event of really first-class quality.”

Criticize Finchem’s statement as much as you like, there is an argument that he was proven correct. Three of the last five competitions have been close, with a 16-14 result in Australia in 2019 and a one-point game in South Korea in 2015; an 18.5-15.5 decision at Muirfield Village in 2013 that’s closer than it looks.

A look back at the best of Day 3 of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

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A look back at the best of Day 3 of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

A look back at the best of Day 3 of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Then there is the familiarity aspect. While the 12-man international team made just 141 PGA Tour starts 28 years ago, the 12 members of this year’s 2021-22 Presidents Cup team made 282 total starts.

That’s a 100 percent growth, and the difference can be seen across the lineup. Eleven of the 12 members of this year’s International Team have made more than 20 PGA Tour starts this year tom kim appeared in 11 events when he finally earned his card by the end of the season – while seven of them made 25 starts or more.

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Rising Stars from Chile (Mito Pereira27 starts) and South Korea (KH Lee28) top the list of draft horses, while fellow countryman Lee – Si Woo Kim – will accompany him to Charlotte for his second Presidents Cup after 29 starts this season.

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Corey Conners made his first team admirable consistency after a year, as did his Canadian compatriot Taylor Pendirth (21 launches). aussie Cam Davis (25), South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout (24), Sebastian Munoz (25) and Hideki Matsuyama (21) also help form the roster.

Complete the team with South Koreans Sunjae Im, who is on the wane with “only” 26 starts this season, and you have an international team that’s getting more comfortable in the US every week. This, in turn, is why optimism continues to be an international strength.

Sungjae Im finished second in the FedExCup standings

Sungjae Im finished second in the FedExCup standings

“We’re still talking about 18-hole match play and we have to remember that anything can happen in an 18-hole match,” Adam Scott told reporters earlier this summer. “Momentum plays a big part in those things. We saw that last time. We kind of got up early and almost stayed through (to win).”

Scott, a veteran that he is, would tell you that while he and his friends feel more comfortable in the United States thanks to a full offering of PGA Tour tournaments, another aspect of this biannual affair keeps things going makes difficult. That is, an American team that is consistently deep and consistently young.

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood say they are unsure of their Ryder Cup status but, to the contrary, have not received any correspondence

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Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood say they are unsure of their Ryder Cup status but, to the contrary, have not received any correspondence

Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood say they are unsure of their Ryder Cup status but, to the contrary, have not received any correspondence

Why Team USA will be heavy favorites

How deep? Ten of the US team’s 12 players are in the top 20 of the official golf world rankings, and the only two who aren’t – Max Homa and Kevin Kisner – are close to this benchmark.

The team is led by the world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and has four others in the top 10: Patrick Cantley, Xander Schauffele, JustinThomas and Collin Morikawa.

A look at how 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler rose through the ranks to become world number one.

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A look at how 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler rose through the ranks to become world number one.

A look at how 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler rose through the ranks to become world number one.

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how young Two are just 25 years old – Morikawa and Cameron Young – while five others are in their 20s. As for the “old” guard, we’re talking about Cantlay at the age of 30, Max Homa at 31, Tony Finau at 32 and Billy Horschel at 35. This is deep, this is young, and this is a strong group hitting the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina next week.

It’s an indication that the Americans are likely to be the big favorites for a ninth straight season. On the other hand, being the outsider is new to Aussies, South Africans, Fijians, Kiwis, Canadians, South Americans, Japanese and Koreans.

True, they still haven’t found the answer to this biennial conundrum, but you would be doing them a great disservice by shorting them. The bigger picture does them justice when you look at the 2021-22 season: Four of their players – Matsuyama, Im, Lee and Kim – have combined five wins on the PGA Tour this season.

Hideki Matsuyama is making his fifth consecutive Presidents Cup appearance

Hideki Matsuyama is making his fifth consecutive Presidents Cup appearance

It’s true the Americans have accumulated 18 victories this season, but Finchem’s vision has unfolded as he predicted. International players have made a name for themselves around the world thanks to a high level of play on the PGA Tour, and that will be prominently displayed at this year’s Presidents Cup.

Focus on the people that make up the two lineups – not past results – and you’ll likely find 15 of the top 20 names in the world. As promised more than 20 years ago, the Presidents Cup has reached a level of excellence.

pairings

Game 1 – 5.05pm BST

Hideki Matsuyama (Japan) and Adam Scott (Australia) against Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele

Game 2 – 17:17 CET

Corey Conners (Canada) and Im Sung-jae (South Korea) against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas

Game 3 – 17:29 CET

Tom Kim (South Korea) and KH Lee (South Korea) versus Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young

Match 4 – 5.41pm BST

Cam Davis (Australia) and Kim Si-woo (South Korea) against Sam Burns and Scottie Scheffler

Match 5 – 5.53pm BST

Taylor Pendrith (Canada) and Mito Pereira (Chile) vs. Tony Finau and Max Homa (reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)

Who will win the Presidents Cup? Watch the 2022 competition live on Sky Sports from 22-25 September. Live coverage begins on Thursday 22 September from 5.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.

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