Oddly enough, the lead up to the 2013 Presidents Cup has been strangely quiet. Almost anti-climactic for serious golf fans, with the only fanfare being the omission of Jim Furyk off Freddy Couples‘ American squad. That controversy lasted about half a news cycle and then more silence. At last check, there were still tickets available; the problem being that this event generates as much passion as a Thursday night football game between the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns, which incidentally is up against the prime time replay of the golf coverage on October 3rd. Who’ll win the ratings battle?
Let’s get the predication out of the way and focus on some more interesting side stories. The Americans are loaded for bear top to bottom and should win handily against an undermanned International team, but will struggle, as they do in most match play events, and win in a squeaker 18-16. After watching the underdog Euro team dominate the heavily favored U.S. squad in this year’s Solheim Cup, nothing will surprise me.
If you believe as I do that the Ryder Cup is the premier international match-play competition, than the addition of Jordan Speith to the American Presidents squad has got to excite you. This guy has got the stones for winning at a very young age and the match-play experience will only ready him more for next year’s competition at Gleneagles. I also like that Hunter Mahan is on the team. He needs the match play work to continue to exercise the choking demons of the 2010 Ryder Cup catastrophe at Celtic Manor. See a pattern here?
This year’s International team is featuring five South Africans, but those not named Schwartzel, Els, or Oosthuizen have never sniffed international competition. First timers Branden Grace and Richard Sterne are relative unknowns, although Grace finished 18th at The Masters, which was his top performance in 12 events on this year’s PGA Tour.
Finally, I am amused every week that Phil and Tiger are in the same field. When Tiger struggles, the media has a sky is falling conniption fit, but when Phil plays poorly, hardly anyone notices. The public roots more intensely for Phil over Tiger, but Woods has set his personal bar much higher, and Phil has rolled on the career roller coaster with predictable regularity. At the end of the day, I think the players take The Presidents Cup more seriously than the fans. Enjoy the spectacle and see you at Muirfield Village.