Editor’s Note: GolfTEC writers and special guests will periodically weigh in with their thoughts on current golf news, events and issues. All opinions expressed are meant for entertainment purposes only and not representative of GolfTEC as a whole.
By GolfTEC Digital
With the opening session of the 2015 Presidents Cup complete and the historically-dominant U.S. squad (9-1-1) already off to a sizable 4-1 lead, you might be apt to write this event off as a drama-less afterthought in your weekend TV plans.
A pair of our writers weigh in with their top three reasons why you’ll be kicking yourself on Monday, however, if you don’t tune in to this elite international competition, regardless of the final result.
By Jon Levy:
Anyone would be hard-pressed to provide a legitimate argument that 2015 did NOT yield some of the best golf and most incredible dramatics we’ve seen in recent years.
That said, I’ll be the first to say this history-laden season also seemed like a lo-o-o-ng one, and with yet another event like the Presidents Cup coming right on its heels – an exhibition that’s taken a lot of criticism in comparison to the Ryder Cup – it would be easy to write it off from our topics of interest this weekend.
There’s just something so pride-evoking and attention-grabbing about a team of Americans representing their country, however, that I can’t seem to take my eyes away when it comes to events like this, and neither should you. I can think of dozens of storylines I’m excited to follow this weekend, but here are my top three:
1. Jason Day vs. Jordan Spieth in Sunday’s Singles.
You know it’s coming. It has to. I mean, the two hottest golfers on the planet – running at a level NOBODY can match right now – playing for their countries on opposing sides? If this isn’t Must See TV, I wouldn’t know what is.
2. Patrick Reed.
Love him or hate him, the guy’s made for events like this. He was nearly the lone spark at Gleneagles last year with a 3-0-1 record, and his on-course antics are most certainly top-5 in the world.
And, if you think the media isn’t planning to have a camera follow his every move in an effort to capture more event-defining dramatics? Shhhh …
3. Three-time (winning) captain and current assistant, Fred Couples.
As an Ashworthed-out 15-year-old desperately hoping to one day adorn just a sliver of the game and coolness of the ’92 Masters champ, I’ve had a man crush on Freddie for years and not afraid to admit it.
Sadly, I’m still waiting on both traits to arrive over 20 years later, but as a former college golf coach who takes a LOT of stock in how a leader’s behavior can affect team performance, it’s a worthy consolation to see Couples play this role. Seems his M.O. is to just be himself, and in the process he naturally helps his guys feel relaxed, confident and ready to win.
Most of us would do well to copy Couples’ attitude on the course, for that matter, so maybe – just maybe – if you watch him in action this weekend, some of that coolness will rub off on you, too.
By Nick Miller:
Leading up to this week, there’s been a lot of discussion about the Presidents Cup being an afterthought to the Ryder Cup. Sure, it lacks its European counterpart’s storied history dating back nearly 90 years, but does it have to be held in the same regard, and is that necessarily a bad thing?
It certainly hasn’t stopped players from fighting to make the roster. Take Brooks Koepka, for example. His burning desire to make the team led him to a flurry of extra worldwide events this year, and although he ultimately just fell short, that should be an indication that the players themselves feel this event is a big deal, even if it isn’t like the Ryder Cup.
And not to mention we’re coming off some of the best golf being played on the PGA Tour in years? I know we’re in for an exciting weekend, so here are my top three reasons to watch:
1. A battle to the end.
Unlike past Presidents Cup events that featured landslide victories (by the International team in 1998 and the U.S. team in 2000), I think this year will be much closer.
Even with the U.S.’ fast start in Thursday Foursomes, I’m expecting the need for points coming down the stretch during Singles on Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’ll be easy for the Internationals, but big weeks from Jason Day and Danny Lee could tighten the race back up quickly.
And don’t be surprised if we see a pivotal match between Day and Jordan Spieth to close the event, as my compadre mentioned above. It’s the biggest ticket going right now, and if the Presidents Cup wants to bump its status a notch, this marquee match would surely help.
2. A big week for Danny Lee.
Even following the loss in Match 1 against Spieth and Dustin Johnson – as foreshadowed in No. 1 – I think we’ll see the emergence of Lee as a key player for future International squads.
Following his breakthrough PGA Tour season featuring his first victory and a top-10 finish in the final FedEx Cup standings, we may see Lee provide a needed spark for the Internationals and contribute a few key points. He’s received enough flak about not having a girlfriend this year to boot, so if that hasn’t toughened him up even further, I don’t know what would.
3. U.S. Presidents Cup continued dominance.
While I’ve just mentioned I think this competition will be a close one, I think the U.S. team will take home its sixth-straight Presidents Cup victory.
The firepower from the Americans will ultimately prove too much for the Internationals, especially with Phil Mickelson bringing his A-grade short game to South Korea, as we quickly witnessed on the 13th hole yesterday.
Even looking the Official World Golf Rankings, Bill Haas is the lowest-ranked American on the team at 29th, which is higher than seven of the 12 players on the International team.
Ultimately outmatched, look for the U.S. to outlast the Internationals in what I’m still hoping is a competitive weekend at the Presidents Cup.
Have your own thoughts on the Presidents Cup? Keep the conversation going in our Comments section below!