Forecasting the 2015 Presidents Cup: August 19th
The 2015 Presidents Cup is less than two months away, with Team USA and the Internationals set to tee it up at Jack Nicklaus GC in Korea during the second week of October, and both teams are starting to take shape. Since the inception of this event in 1994, Team USA have dominated with a 9-1-1 record, taking their only loss back in 1998 at Royal Melbourne.
The two tables below show the current standings for Team USA and the Internationals with their ten qualified players and just like the posts I did for the Ryder Cup last year, clicking on each player will take you to a page with their complete match play record. From there, I’ll mention the next ten players who are on the outside looking in, give some quick thoughts on the current group, and I’ll make my captains picks, but unlike the Ryder Cup, captains Jay Haas and Nick Price will only be selecting two players for their captains picks and not three.
|Team USA||Presidents Cup Singles||Presidents Cup Team||Current Points|
|Jordan Spieth||0 – 1||2 – 1||10,555|
|Bubba Watson||0 – 1||3 – 1||7,485|
|Zach Johnson||1 – 2||6 – 4||5,487|
|Jim Furyk||5 – 2||15 – 8 – 3||5,418|
|Dustin Johnson||0 – 1||1 – 2 – 1||5,328|
|Matt Kuchar||0 – 2||4 – 3 – 1||4,571|
On The Bubble
- Robert Streb (4,145), Charley Hoffman (4,107), J.B. Holmes (4,071), Billy Horschel (3,989), Bill Haas (3,978), Brandt Snedeker (3,968), Ryan Moore (3,799), Kevin Na (3,688), Webb Simpson (3,582) and Brooks Koepka (3,522).
- The first thing to note is that Chris Kirk is currently injured with a broken hand and hasn’t played since before the Open Championship last month, so you have to think that his eligibility is in jeopardy. If Kirk was unable to play, the next person on the list would take his spot, and in this case, that would be Robert Streb who has yet to play in competitive match play as a pro.
- Any team that starts off with Spieth and Watson should be a good one, but I just don’t feel all that great about the group above in all honesty. Typically, the Americans run away with this thing, but the International side is stronger now than in previous years, which we’ll get to in a minute.
- If he doesn’t make it on points, there’s still absolutely no chance that Bill Haas is left off of this roster with his dad as captain, right? Haas is a good player and wouldn’t be out of place, but it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens if he requires a captain’s pick and it’s clear that there are better options available at the time. (UPDATE: Eric Evans points out this article from Golfweek back in February around the Haas situation. Definitely changes that situation.)
- You’ll notice that Phil Mickelson is nowhere to be found, and while there’s always been some talk that a few of the bigger names would be interested in skipping the Presidents Cup and just focusing every two years on the Ryder Cup, Mickelson made it perfectly clear last week that he wants to go. He’s going to have to go on a big run to qualify on points, but if he doesn’t, you’d have to think that it’s going to be a tough call for Haas to make with Mickelson’s stature in the game. Two years ago, Fred Couples talked about how difficult it was to tell Jim Furyk about being left off the team in favour of Spieth and Webb Simpson, and Haas will face something very similar if he decides to go that route with Mickelson.
- I talked about this on Twitter earlier this week, but I really believe that this U.S. team is the perfect example of why I would personally prefer that the team was comprised of captain’s picks and not on points. As much as it hurts to hear for those in charge, it’s obvious that the Presidents Cup takes a back seat to the Ryder Cup and with the lack of success that Team USA has had in that event, you’d think that the Presidents Cup would be the perfect time to get some other, younger players involved in the team process. The players would likely tell you different, but is there really a point at this stage in sending someone like Furyk or Kuchar to Korea if it means that rising stars like Justin Thomas and Tony Finau are left at home?
My Captain’s Picks
Picking today, I’d go with Horschel and Koepka. Horschel’s attitude is the perfect fit for match play, like an American version of Ian Poulter, and he’s got the ball striking game to back it up. Koepka is the exact kind of player you’d want to partner with someone who has a superior wedge and putting game, and both players fit the criteria of getting younger players involved in a team atmosphere.
|Team International||Presidents Cup Singles||Presidents Cup Team||Current Points|
|Jason Day||1 – 1||3 – 3 – 2||9.40|
|Adam Scott||3 – 3||9 – 12 – 3||4.88|
|Louis Oosthuizen||0 – 0 – 1||1 – 3||4.79|
|Hideki Matsuyama||0 – 1||1 – 2 – 1||4.27|
|Branden Grace||0 – 1||0 – 3||3.95|
|Marc Leishman||1 – 0||1 – 2||3.02|
|Charl Schwartzel||2 – 0||3 – 4 – 1||2.58|
On The Bubble
- Byeong-Hun An (2.33), Steven Bowditch (2.32), John Senden (2.31), George Coetzee (2.27), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2.08), Matt Jones (1.97), Tim Clark (1.71), Cameron Smith (1.70), Hiroshi Iwata (1.69) and Graham DeLaet (1.64).
- One thing that has always jumped out about the International side in this event is that they are VERY top heavy. Their best players have always been able to keep up with the best from the American side, but once you got past the first three or four, it would become a little dicey. While I don’t think that’s necessarily changed this year, I do think that the depth on the International side has been much improved with the emergence of players like Lahiri and Lee.
- Jason Day is absolutely dominating the point system for the Internationals, but one thing that I’ve always wished they would change is that there’s two different systems for the teams, which is the same at the Ryder Cup. It’s not a huge deal really, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense that the top player for the U.S. has over 10,000 points while the International leader has 9.
- Lahiri has really come from nowhere over the past few years to join this group, and he definitely turned some heads at Whistling Straits by finishing in the top 5 and winning the long drive contest. Having that kind of length can really be a huge thing in this setting, and perhaps most shocking of all is that he got the No Laying Up crew off of his back.
- Seeing Schwartzel at the bottom of this list is a little strange, but even if he doesn’t make it on points, there’s absolutely zero chance that Price doesn’t take him as a captain’s pick. If he’s on, he can be a real game changer for this team.
- Price will probably have to pair a good putter (Jaidee) with Scott based on the way he’s been rolling it on the greens this season. Speaking of Scott, do we know if Steve Williams is joining him in Korea?
My Captain’s Picks
As much as I think the Internationals have improved, I still think they lack a little firepower, so with that in mind, my two picks are Bowditch and Aphibarnrat. Both guys can go real low, and in the case of Aphibarnrat, he won the Paul Lawrie Match Play recently, so there is something to be said for positive experiences in that kind of setting.
|Team USA||Team International|
|Jordan Spieth||Jason Day|
|Bubba Watson||Adam Scott|
|Jimmy Walker||Louis Oosthuizen|
|Zach Johnson||Hideki Matsuyama|
|Jim Furyk||Branden Grace|
|Dustin Johnson||Marc Leishman|
|Patrick Reed||Anirban Lahiri|
|Rickie Fowler||Thongchai Jaidee|
|Matt Kuchar||Charl Schwartzel|
|Chris Kirk||Danny Lee|
|Billy Horschel||Steven Bowditch|
|Brooks Koepka||Kiradech Aphibarnrat|