The Presidents Cup is a lot like The Players Championship. No one really talks about it until it’s time to play. And too much time is spent comparing it with something it will never be instead of enjoying it for what it is.
At least no one can joke the Presidents Cup is match play between the United States and Florida.
This year, only four players on this International team have homes in Florida. One lives in North Carolina, one in Virginia, another in Idaho. And it’s a home game for Jason Day of Australia, who lives about 10 miles away in Westerville and is an honorary member at Muirfield Village.
But it has nothing to do with where these guys live or where they play. Remember, the most recent Ryder Cup at Medinah was a home game for Luke Donald of England. And only two players from Europe’s team are not PGA Tour members.
The Presidents Cup can never equal the passion, pride and excessive hype of the Ryder Cup, just like The Players Championship can have all the trappings of a major championship without ever being considered one. Those vested in the Presidents Cup — mainly anyone who works for the PGA Tour — will argue that it’s only a matter of time. No one paid that much attention to the Ryder Cup when it was first starting out. Now it rivals the Masters as must-see TV.
That’s missing the point.
Europe has a real flag, not one that someone designed exclusively for a golf tournament.
More than playing for a flag, Europe plays for its tour. Padraig Harrington said it best a decade ago when he referred to the European Tour as the “country cousin” of the PGA Tour. It’s not as big, not as rich, not as popular. They have something to prove one week every two years.
So why bother with the Presidents Cup?
Mainly because it’s an opportunity, and that should be enough.
It wouldn’t hurt if the International team won the Presidents Cup this year to at least make it look like a contest. The last three have been blowouts, and the Americans’ only loss in this “competition” was in 1998 at Royal Melbourne.
Would it change the interest level worldwide? Not much as people might think.
It’s still an exhibition between the best players in the world outside of Europe. It’s team match play, the most engaging format in golf. It’s still a great week of golf.
And that’s all it needs to be worth playing.
WHEN: Thursday to Sunday
WHERE: Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.) and NBC (Saturday, 5 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.)
FORMAT: Team match play. Thursday, six foursomes matches; Friday, six fourball matches; Saturday, five morning foursomes matches, five afternoon fourball matches; Sunday, 12 singles matches.