The Presidents Cup takes place in Korea this week in a reduced format from recent years. With one team made up of the best players from the USA and the other from the best from every country outside of Europe, this year’s tournament could be a very tightly contested match.
In recent years this has been a very one sided tournament. Since its inception in 1994, the USA have won nine times and only lost it the once. After much lobbying from the International team, there has been one match taken off each of the four team sessions and it will now take only 15 and a half points to win. The aim is to make the Presidents Cup as competitive as possible and along with the strength of this year’s International team the tournament organisers could well get their wish.
Jason Day is the player who the USA will have to stop. Before Jordan Spieth won the FedEx Cup so impressively, Day was the number one player in the world and after a couple of weeks off, he will be expected to win his fair share of points. As well as Day, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen have won major championships while Branden Grace, Danny Lee and Hideki Matsuyama have all had good seasons. The problem for the International team is team bonding. Although many of them compete against each other on the PGA Tour, they need to foster a sense of team unity to compete against Team USA.
The Americans have plenty of world class talent to call up this week. Spieth will of course take many of the headlines but Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson have all been brilliant at times this season. In fact, everywhere you look through their team there is quality and plenty of match play experience. After the Americans’ poor performance in the Ryder Cup last summer, they will look to learn lessons this week that they can take into next summer.
The event will be held at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea. A 7,380 yard test from the tournament tees, the course is a par 72. It presents many different challenges but in match play, it all comes down to what your opponent is doing so the characteristics of the course matter less than normal.
The USA team are the clear bookies’ favourites for this year’s Presidents Cup. The best odds you can get on them to win yet again is the 8/15 that Coral are offering. They may not look like massive odds but they are fair given the relative strengths of the two teams.
In the top American market, Spieth is right at the top of the field at 4/1 across the board. However, Phil Mickelson’s odds really stand out. A veteran of many Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, Mickelson’s aggressive game is just made for match play. While he may have had a poor season by his standards, he can come good for his country (he owes them after his outburst at Gleneagles last summer) at odds of 14/1 with Coral.