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2017 Presidents Cup Preview

2017 Presidents Cup Preview
2017 Presidents Cup Preview

It’s that time again—the 2017 Presidents Cup is fast approaching.

It has been nearly two decades since the International Team has won the Presidents Cup, with 1998 being the last time that they were able to topple the United States. Since a tie in the 2003 edition of the competition, it’s been a run of six straight Presidents Cups for the United States—a trend that they hope will continue when the American and International Teams reunite for the biennial competition. This year’s Presidents Cup will be held at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The event is scheduled to take place from 28 September to 1 October, 2017. Days one and two of the 2017 Presidents Cup will consist of five fourball matches and five foursomes. Day three will feature four fourball matches and four foursomes. On the fourth and final day of the competition, twelve singles matches will bring the total number of matches up to 30, with 15.5 points being required to win the Cup.

Maintaining the winning streak

In 2015, the International Team came ever so close to breaking their losing streak, losing 15.5 to 14.5 to the Americans in Incheon, South Korea. The competition came down to the 18th hole of the final head-to-head match, as Bae Sang-Moon of South Korea needed to win the 18th hole to half his match with American Jay Haas and end the Presidents Cup in a tie. Instead, Haas got the better of Bae on that hole, bringing the Americans their sixth straight Presidents Cup win.

That 2015 Presidents Cup effort is the closest that the International Team has been to defeating the Americans since that tie in 2003. In fact, the American Team defeated the International Squad by three points in 2005 and 2013, four points in 2011, and by a healthy five point margin in 2007 and 2009. The International Team has only won the Presidents Cup once since its inaugural contest in 1994, with that victory coming in 1998 by a margin of 20.5-11.5.

The 2017 Presidents Cup

Heading into the 2017 Presidents Cup, there is no doubt that the International Team has a chance to break their losing streak. Seven of the top ten players in the current Official World Golf Rankings are from outside of the United States. This includes some of the most in-form players in the sport—several of which should qualify for the International Presidents Cup Team when the squads are finalized.

Both the United States and International Teams will be determined by the accumulation of points throughout this year up until the Dell Technologies Championship in September. The Americans use a point system that tallies up points earned from the 2015 BMW Championship until the completion of the Dell Technologies Championship. The International Squad, on the other hand, uses an average of points earned per TOUR appearance, with both sides getting two captain’s picks as well.

Players to watch

Atop the leaderboard of American players is Dustin Johnson, who has accumulated a full 3,000 points more than the second place American player. This means he will more than likely be a part of the Presidents Cup—barring an injury of some sort. Other big names on pace to qualify for the American Team include Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

For the International roster, Jason Day of Australia currently leads the pack. Both Day and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama have a two-point lead over the third place player on the International qualification leaderboard, Adam Scott. Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen round out the top five for the International Team, a quintet that can easily carry the Internationals into contention against the Americans regardless of who joins them in Jersey City.

Of course, a lot can change between now and the end of the Dell Technologies Championship. Injuries can take any top player out of the competition, as can a surge by some of the players who currently find themselves on the outside looking in based on their point totals.

The captains for the 2017 Presidents Cup will be Steve Stricker for the Americans and Nick Price for the International Team. They will, of course, be responsible for making the two captain’s picks for each side.

See also: How Rory McIlroy Became a Golf Legend