Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Week in Golf

President's Cup - In San Francisco this week, the always exciting international team competition of the President's Cup will be contended. This event pits twelve of the best American golfers against the twelve top ranked players outside the US and Europe. The inaugural President's Cup was hosted in 1994. Since then, the US and the International teams have traded off hosting the event. This year's edition will be competed at Harding Park, the site of the memorable 2005 WGC playoff between Tiger and John Daly. The event is played from Thursday through Sunday. Tomorrow, six foursome matches will take place. Friday, six four-ball matches will be played. Saturday, five matches of each will occur. And 12 singles matches will be played on Sunday. Foursomes matches are alternate shot, and four-ball matches are better ball. In both formats, each team's captain pairs two players for each match to compete against a pair from the other side. Singles matches are regular match play. The winner of each match play match earns one full point for their team. No penalty is suffered by the loser. In the case of an all square match, each team is awarded one half point. The first team to 17 1/2 points wins the cup. Unlike in the Ryder Cup, the President's Cup allows captains to see pairings before inserting them into individual matches. This rule allows for some great match-ups. In South Africa in 2003, Woods and Els were the anchor singles match that went to extra holes and ended up in a draw. In Canada in 2007, Woods played Canadian Mike Weir. The International Team has one victory in the President's Cup in 1998 in Australia, and the matches were called a draw in 2003 in South Africa. The President's Cup is seen as a more relaxed and fun atmosphere than the Ryder Cup. So many spectators and players enjoy the President's Cup a little bit more. However, I believe that also means a victory is not quite as sweet for the American team. The US team is captained by Fred Couples this year with Jay Hass and Michael Jordan as assistant captains. Jordan serves as the first non-professional golfer to serve as an assistant captain, but he and Freddy have been close friends for many years. Jordan also enjoys spectating at golf team competitions. It has been reported that he is very nervous about his role this week. The US team has Woods, Mickelson, Furyk, Stricker, Mahan, Glover, Perry, Leonard, Cink, O'Hair, Johnson, and Kim. The International Team is captained by Greg Norman, and he has quite the arsenal as well. Ernie Els, Goosen, Scott, Clark, Cabrera, Villgeas, Ishikawa, Weir, Allenby, Yang, Singh, and Ogilvy are on the opposite side. On paper, the US has a definite advantage, but the fun part of team competition is that you never know who can win. The Golf Channel will broadcast the first two days with NBC taking over for the weekend. It is a great event with many big names involved. Make sure to tune in.

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