2019 Presidents Cup Preview
The 2019 Presidents Cup will see a team representing the US facing off against an international team for charity. In its 25-year history, the International Team has recorded only one win over the US, which came 21 years ago. They also fought to a draw back in 2003, but it’s been one-way traffic ever since.
Does the International Team have a chance, or will it be another repeat of the 2017 tournament which the US easily won 19–11?
2019 Presidents Cup Preview
Where: Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Melbourne
When: December 09-15, 2019
Team United States
The United States is blessed with a wealth of golfing talent, and Tiger Woods was spoiled for choice when it was time to name his Presidents Cup team. The legendary Phil Mickelson failed to make the cut for the first time ever, as Woods picked himself as his final wildcard.
The eight highest-ranked players on the United States team are Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.
Skipper: Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is currently seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking, which is a vast improvement over his 898th place back in 2017. The US team’s skipper has won three tournaments since returning from a back operation in early 2018, and he equalled the PGA Tour record with his 82nd career victory in October. He’s only the second playing captain in the history of the event, but he’s also one of the highest-ranked players competing. Woods’ teammates are likely to claim another easy victory in 2019.
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The International team
The international team has traditionally struggled, especially considering the lack of options from Europe. However, they did pick up their only win on the Royal Melbourne course when it was held there for the first time in 1998. The eight players not eligible for the European Ryder Cup with the highest Official World Golf Ranking points make up the team, along with four wildcard picks.
The eight top-ranked players on the International Team are Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Pan Cheng-tsung and Cameron Smith.
Skipper: Ernie Els
Ernie Els has picked the youngest-ever team in Presidents Cup history, with the team consisting of stars with an average age of 29.. Els originally chose Jason Day of Australia, Adam Hadwin of Canada, Sungjae Im of Korea and Joaquín Niemann of Chile as his wildcard picks, but lost Day to injury.
Former world No. 1 Day was likely to be a major player for the international team, but the champion was forced to withdraw because of a back injury. He was replaced by Byeong Hun An who is the second Korean on the team.
The loss of the Australian is a major thorn in the side for his team even though he hasn’t won a tournament title since 2018. Day would have been a hard matchup for any of the US players, while he knows the course as well as anyone competing.
It seems like an open-and-shut case, with a strong US side that are likely to overpower their international counterparts. The latest act in Woods’ redemption arc is only going to end in victory.