The United States’ victory in the 2017 Presidents Cup at the weekend has left calls for a revamp in the format of the competition.
The contest between a United States side and an International team made up of the best from around the world has become so one-sided that even those competing are wondering just what to do with the four-day match play event.
The United States dominated their international counterparts, so much so they were just one point short of wrapping up the victory in three days at Liberty National.
It was a seventh straight American victory and continues a trend that has seen the International Team triumph just once in 12 events—that being way back in 1998—and secure a draw on one other occasion in 2003.
It has prompted calls for the competition to be rejigged somehow to make it more competitive, although quite how remains to be seen.
The PGA TOUR organise the Presidents Cup, choosing the venues, the team selection and qualification and even the team captains.
The United States have a natural advantage with almost all Americans playing on the PGA TOUR. The best of the world’s internationals—Europe aside as they contest the Ryder Cup—are split between the PGA TOUR and the European Tour.
The Ryder Cup also helps give the United States an advantage as they play a match play event every year. The Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup are both bi-annual events, giving a distinct advantage to battle-hardened Americans.
A shortening of the event, in which not all players play each day, is another option to balance things.
“I think we can go back to the drawing board with the TOUR,” said Ernie Els, who has been involved as both a player and a coach with the International Team. “The future of the Cup is important. We want to have it as competitive as we can.
“Obviously playing for less points, I still say would benefit us. We’re playing a very deep American side, and I think less points for us.
“We play these team events every second year and the US team plays every year. So they are a little bit more, I don’t want to say prepared.
“I think to put pairings together with a very diverse group as we have, is our challenge.
“So I think less matches, less points, will be definitely beneficial to us, but we’ll wait and see, see where we go with the TOUR.”
Adam Scott, who played for the Internationals in the latest defeat, added: “We need more practice of team play. We had some new guys again this year, and I think some of that showed up a little bit in all of our strategy on the golf course.
“The players are really going to have to invest more in this as a group collectively on the off-year, and somehow get better, if we don’t want this kind of stuff to happen.”
Winning United States team member, Phil Mickelson, said: “It’s tough to answer [what could change]. But we’ve been on both sides of it. We’ve taken some pretty good poundings and we’ve delivered them, too.
“I just think that it’s hard to answer that question because we have such a strong team who played their best. Rather than dwell on what could be done on the other side, I think it should be more cherished what has taken place on this side and the level of performance in each match by all these players and the level of golf.
“I’d rather focus more on that and what an incredible performance this has been for our team than to worry about how to fix the other team. That’s really not high on my list of priorities.”