From the surprising picks to Tiger being a playing captain, this year’s Presidents Cup will be one to watch. Taking place in Royal Melbourne Australia, Royal Melbourne Golf Club is known for its strategic bunkering and sloped greens. Royal Melbourne is a bucket list course for any golfer so I’m very interested in seeing how the course plays.
On the US side, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods were selected as captain’s picks. I was surprised that Tiger chose Patrick Reed. His overall record in the Presidents cup is 4−3−2 and we all know how good Reed can be in this type of format. His duel with Rory in the 2016 Ryder Cup was one for the ages. But everything came to a head last year at the Ryder Cup. Everything that could go wrong did and we’re all well aware of the aftermath. But, I believe Reed will right the wrongs from last year and play well. If he is paired with Xander, Webb or even Tiger I expect Reed to return to his former Captain America status and score points for the US side.
The US team is full of veterans but also includes several rookies. Bryson, Xander, Tony Finau, and Patrick Cantlay are making their first Presidents Cup appearance. On the International side, there is a mix of veteran talent along with many rookies. Captain Els will have to rely heavily on his veterans Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama and Louis Oosthuizen to continue their strong play from this season. Jason Day was an initial captains pick for Ernie Els but he has withdrawn due to injury. Although Day’s record in the Presidents Cup is not the best, this is a huge loss for Captain Els.
Foursome & Fourball
Fourball and Foursomes are strengths of the US team. From the current players on the team the US record in fourball is 19−17−2 and Foursomes is 27−11−6. Dustin Johnson will play a major role in foursomes. His overall record is 5−0−1. Even though DJ is coming off surgery in September, he was playing at a high level with a win at the WGC Mexico and 2ndplace finishes at the PGA championship and the Masters.
The International duo to watch is Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama. In order to beat the US, the International team will have to rely on the veterans to play at a high level and the rookies to continue their solid play in 2019. The Fourball pairing I would like to see is Dustin Johnson and the newly added Rickie Fowler, who replaces the injured Brooks Koepka. We all know Brooks Koepka has been the best player in the world for two years now. His four major championships during that span has revered him as one of the players to beat every time he tees it up. Tiger said during the team meeting “who do you want to go to battle with” and they all chose Rickie. Rickie has not had the best 2019 season by his standards, but Rickie is known for his clutch putting when it matters the most. I expect Rickie to return to the form that won in Phoenix earlier this year. Rickie being paired with DJ would be a formidable duo for captain Woods.
Singles matches always prove to be the deciding factor in determining the cup. The US team always seems to build up a huge lead in Fourball and Foursome and struggle in singles matches. The singles record for the current players on the US team are 8−11−3 and the Internationals are 12−7−3.
Overall, the US team is stronger with six players ranked in the top 10 in the world. The International team will be starting six rookies in the singles matches. When it comes to the singles match everyone wants to see the top players on both sides compete head to head. I believe we will see Tiger vs Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson vs Louis Oosthuizen. With more star power, experience and clutch veteran play I believe the US team retains the cup in a 19.5−14.5 victory.