by Jeff Skinner
As the countdown to The Presidents Cup continues, it seems there are more stories concerning everything surrounding The Cup and little on the players themselves. These are two skilled teams with plenty of experience and a sprinkling of rookies thrown in. On paper it appears that the US Team has a significant advantage.
Any team that can call Tiger Woods a member has an advantage. He’s number one in the world and even though his team play record isn’t as overwhelming as his individual record, he is still “the man” when it comes to golf in any format. Overall the US Team has a significant firepower advantage.
The US Team has accumulated nineteen wins this year while the Internationals have six. There are five multiple winners for the US and only two multiple winners on the International side. The US Team also has five players that reside in the top ten of The World Golf Rankings: Woods, Mickelson, Stricker, Perry and Furyk. Geoff Ogilvy is the only International team member in the top ten. The US team has much greater depth than The International with ten of twelve US members sitting in the top twenty five of the World Rankings. The Internationals can claim only five players in the top twenty five and Adam Scott has the lowest ranking at sixty five in the world.
As far as major winners go, the teams are evenly matched as each team has two major winners on each side; Lucas Glover and Stewart Cink for the Americans and Angel Cabrera and Y.E. Yang for the Internationals. The US Team also appears to be the hotter team coming into play. Since the British Open the US Team can claim six tournament winners and the Internationals have only one.
One of the distinct differences from The Ryder Cup and The Presidents Cup format is that all the members play on the first two days. There is no place to hide a weak link in the format here, where in Ryder Cup play a player can sit until singles play on Sunday. If a player is off his form, it could be costly for his team.
On paper the Americans look to be the superior team but résumés do not win golf tournaments. When Tiger went into the final round of this year’s PGA Championship with the lead everyone assumed that he would claim another major title, everyone except Y.E Yang, who beat Tiger head to head to win The PGA and complete one of the biggest upsets in golf history. Yang would do well to share some of that upset magic with his teammates and maybe make this match a little closer than we all think.