The regular season may be over, but for 24 players, there’s still one event remaining. They battle for the President’s Cup on the New Jersey shores at Liberty National Golf Club. In our preview, we look at the history, the course, and the field.
2017 President’s Cup
The bi-annual President’s Cup started in 1994. It pits a team from the United States against an International team, each made up of 12 players. They alternate playing foursomes and fourball (alternate shot and best ball, respectively) formats for the first 3 days of the tournament. The final day is a battle of singles matches. Winning a match earns the team 1 point. Matches ending in a tie are awarded 1/2 point to the winner. The first team to 15 1/2 points wins the cup.
To say the U.S. team has dominated the President’s Cup would be an understatement. The U.S. team has won 9 of the 11 events, with one loss and one tie.
The 2017 President’s Cup is played at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey. The course was originally designed by Tom Kite and Bob Cupp. It opened in 2006 and went through a slight redesign in 2010. The course, built on an old landfill, took time and a lot of money to clean up. The result was a 7,400-yard course that blended links and park styles with an unbeatable view of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
After seeing it and playing a few rounds, critics and Tour Pros had few good things to say about Liberty National. So, in 2010, the course went through a slight redesign. Most of the design changes revolved around making the greens less penal. Addressing the changes, head architect Steve Wenzloff has this to say about the changes:
“The teeth will still be in it, but the teeth won’t sink as deep into your skin.”
Besides the changes to the actual course, the players in the President’s Cup will play a rerouted course. They will tee it up on the par-4 5th hole, move to the sixth, and so on. Tournament organizers want to showcase the meat of the course and still present a challenge if matches go the distance. The final 4 holes (Holes 1-4) are 2 sub-400 yard par 4’s and 2 par 3’s. All 4 are potential birdie holes and could make for some exciting finishes.
As mentioned, each team has 12 players. The United States team looks locked and loaded for another victory. They have 4 of the top 10 ranked players in the world plus the experience of captain’s pick Phil Mickelson. Phil is the only player to play in every single President’s Cup ever. His experience is invaluable to the United States team that has 6 rookies playing. U.S. captain, Steve Stricker, is said to be employing the “pod” system made famous by Paul Azinger in the 2008 Ryder Cup. In this system, 2 veterans are paired with 2 rookies for stability, familiarity, and experience. It’s not known yet how Strick will set up his team but the “pod” system looks like a strong strategy.
The International team shouldn’t be counted out before they even tee off, though. Captain Nick Price’s team has more experience and a few players that are playing pretty good golf going in. Aussie’s Jason Day and Marc Leishman are coming off strong performances throughout the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Hideki Matsuyama was leading the FedEx Cup race for much of the year before faltering a bit at the end of the year. He certainly has the game to win matches for his team. Price also has the smooth-swinging Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen in his arsenal. Neither man can be underestimated.
Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
That wraps up our preview of the 2017 President’s Cup. Leave a comment below and let us know who you think will win.
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