2015 Presidents Cup Thoughts

Team USA continued their domination of the Internationals at the Presidents Cup this week, winning 15.5-14.5 to improve their record in the event to 9-1-1 since its inception in 1994. While the end result wasn’t surprising, what was a bit of a shock was how much fun the week really was, despite the time difference that comes with playing an event in South Korea. I covered the best GIFs, Vines and tweets in this post here, but some extended thoughts on the event are below.

Reinvigorating the Presidents Cup

After the first session, the Americans were ahead 4-1 and it really looked like we were headed for another dull Presidents Cup; one that would lead to more questions about the validity of the event moving forward, but the Internationals chipped away in the next session and were down by just one point heading to Sunday singles. The final session was incredible to watch from start to finish, and there were real points where it looked like the Internationals were going to shock the Americans and take the cup for the first time since 1998 and even though it didn’t happen, this does feel like the boost that people have been wanting to see.

Expecting this event to become as meaningful or intense as the Ryder Cup is unrealistic, but there’s no doubt that the International side has improved to the point where they can become consistently competitive. Their top players (Day, Scott, Matsuyama and Oosthuizen) are good enough to compete with anyone, and their back end guys like Lahiri and Lee are solid as well. Nick Price finally getting Tim Finchem to make slight changes to the format helped a lot, but there’s more talent here than ever before.

2015 has been an amazing year for golf, and there’s no bigger proof of that than the Presidents Cup becoming relevant again.

Adam Scott

For the first three days of the Presidents Cup, Adam Scott was probably the worst player on the International team and believe it or not, it wasn’t entirely based around his inability to hit putts. His ball striking was horrible, particularly with his wedges, and when he got onto the greens, the switch to the regular putter wasn’t helping him. Watching Scott and Matsuyama on the greens in the first session was like watching two guys try to handle a wet bar of soap. There was no reason to believe after four matches where Scott went 0-2-2 that he would pose any threat to Rickie Fowler in Sunday singles. He went on to trounce Fowler 6 and 5, hitting putts from both North and South Korea.


Jack Nicklaus GC

The PGA Tour announced during the event that the Melbourne area was going to be hosting the 2019 event, and we can hope that means we’re going to be seeing Royal Melbourne for four days, but if not, they can’t really go wrong with the courses in that area. I bring this up because I can honestly say that I won’t remember a single thing about Jack Nicklaus GC outside of the fact that every ball on the 18th ended up short left.

Moving on.

Phil’s penalty

Brendan Porath at SB Nation has you covered on the particulars of the penalty that Phil Mickelson incurred alongside Zach Johnson against Adam Scott and Jason Day, which was completely legitimate according to the rules apparently. Three comments:

  • Not sure how the walking rules official can communicate the wrong thing to Phil about him being “disqualified from the hole.”

  • Even though they eventually got the decision correct by the letter of the rule, how on earth can you lose a hole twice in match play? Why is it only applicable to fourball? The rules of golf are frequently confusing, contradictory and infuriating and I’m not sure there’s a better example than what we saw in this instance.
  • Lastly, it’s the most Phil thing ever to actually carry a second ball in his bag that he thinks will give him an added advantage on a par 5. He’s a treasure.


Other notes

  • Match play records have been updated for everyone who played this week.
  • Jordan Spieth went 3-2 at the event and even though we’ve been watching him do it for two years now, it’s still staggering to see someone with so much confidence on the greens. If he actually misses a putt from 20 feet or closer, I’m shocked. He’s made the extraordinary look routine.
  • I’ve always been impressed by Branden Grace and thought he was underrated just because he plays almost exclusively in Europe, but that won’t be the case going forward. His pairing with Oosthuizen that went 4-0 was constantly paired against the best players that the Americans had to offer, and they never wavered. In singles, Grace was 5 up on Matt Kuchar after the front nine and that match was never in doubt. Just an incredible week.
    • Oosthuizen needs to be mentioned too. He halved in his singles match against Reed to go undefeated as well, finishing 4-0-1 for the week and if it wasn’t for injury problems, it feels like we’d see this kind of performance from him several times each year. The singles match with Reed was probably the best of the entire week too, with both guys just constantly firing at pins.
  • On the broadcast, it was mentioned that Bubba Watson and Thongchai Jaidee were actually good friends and have been for years. I would have bet my entire bank account that Bubba had no idea who Thongchai was before they met on the first tee on the final day.

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