The eyes of the golf world look down under as our boys from the States take on an assortment of layabouts, dregs and communists at the 13th President’s Cup in Melbourne, Australia.
The Americans are heavily favored to win their 11th title and take home the coveted…trophy that a team receives for winning the President’s Cup. Or maybe it’s a plaque. A necklace? The President’s Cup has struggled to stay relevant in the public eye. It is obviously overshadowed by the Ryder Cup which also plays every two years. You get the feeling the American players see it as a duty more than a passion and want to check it off their schedule and move on to the winter break and start preparing for next year.
The President’s Cup started with good intentions. Top notch non-European international golfers felt slighted that they didn’t get to participate in the Ryder Cup which is reserved for only America and Europe. Tim Finchem, the PGA Commissioner brainstormed the idea of the President’s Cup pitting America verse a team of International players, who at the time were led by superstar Greg Norman. Since Norman was involved you sort of knew it would be a failure but through Finchem’s efforts it came about and has become a modest success internationally. The nice thing is that the tournament is being played in Australia so we can watch in prime time in the States. Play will start today (Wednesday) at 5:30 est. I’m not sure how the time difference works for Australia, but they are ahead of us.
Are they in the future?
It will be fun to watch at happy hour with your buddies. Or even with your family. I suppose that could be fun as well. You could all show up with dollar bills and make random bets on every shot. For instance, one person will say, I bet Fowler hits it within 10 feet give me 2-1 any takers? Then you can pay out. It’s only a dollar ffs. Don’t be so cheap. Live a little! Hey son, I bet Tiger misses the fairway left – give me 4-1. Then when your son loses you make him pay!! I bet Bryson takes more than 2 minutes to hit this 4-foot putt. Give me 2-1. Basically, the President’s Cup is a way to pass the time in our dreary existence so in that sense we should be glad we have it to watch. Would you rather watch Three’s Company reruns?
A few interesting story lines leading up to the President’s Cup: Patrick Reed has received a lot of criticism lately regarding his penalty for improving his lie in a waste bunker at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Fellow tour pros piled on Reed impugning his already sullied reputation. I’m inclined to like Reed because he hates the media but this is about the 4th time he’s been caught skirting the rules. He needs to be taught a lesson he won’t soon forget. An appropriate punishment for Patrick would be for PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan to break one of his fingers. It could be on his non-dominant hand. And so as not seem barbaric, Patrick can choose the finger. This would serve as a reminder that respect for the rules of the game is paramount. Sadly, the PGA Tour does not have the stomach to mete out this type of punishment. The European Tour might however as they do sponsor a tournament in Saudi Arabia. You do not want to get caught improving your lie in Saudi Arabia.
Reed will be the object of much drunken Aussie abuse this weekend and he probably deserves it but good Christians forgive so I will. But this is the last time. Patrick you best stay on the straight and narrow unless you want the good people of America to turn their backs on you and possibly send you out on an ice flow. Eskimos (now Inuits) did this which you really have to respect. If someone was causing trouble in their tribe they would set him (it was usually a him) adrift on a piece of ice. His family would come to the send off as well. Can you imagine? Bye son- bundle up!! I just finished the book Fatal North about the doomed USS Polaris expedition to the North Pole in 1870. Phenomenal book- a must read. The Inuits totally saved the asses of the American party. Hunting seal every day to save a party of 20 people adrift on the ice. Amazing fortitude. After reading it, Inuits immediately vaulted to the top of my favorite ethnicities list only behind the Irish. Chechens are last.
Speaking of Chechens, Brooks Koepka posed naked on the ESPN Body issue and with his girlfriend on Instagram. You couldn’t really see anything (I didn’t look very long) but it’s still a weird thing to do. His recent fame has gone to his head and he thought this was a good idea. Golf is a game for gentleman not pornographers. Yes, you’re in good shape Brooks as is your latest girlfriend. But as the good book says in Ephesians 5:3 Let fornification and uncleanliness of every sort not be mentioned among you! (my emphasis added). Repent Brooks Or ye shall be smited at The Masters! (my emphasis added again).
Tiger Woods has managed to keep a low profile of late. And that’s a good thing. We need more famous athletes keeping a low profile. You’re rich and famous; relax a little. Enjoy it. Quit trying so hard.
Abraham Ancer made the International squad and will be playing the first day. He’s from Mexico so I’m rooting for him. I know we’ve had our issues with Mexico but they are a good group of people for the most part. Yes, we need to stop the flow of illegals crossing over the border but that’s on us. Can you blame them? Not really- they want the best for their families. Except the cartels- we need to destroy them all without hesitation.
Louie Oosthuizen will be back in action today as well. Everybody loves Louie. Seriously, what a likeable guy with the sweetest swing in golf. With all his fame and fortune there is nothing Louie would rather be doing than tending to his family and farm in Texas. Louie grew up on a working farm in South Africa and now owns and runs one in Texas. When Louie won a sports car at an event in 2010, he asked if he could trade it in for a tractor. They agreed and Louie took home a 4052R John Deere tractor with a turbocharged diesel engine. That actually happened. God bless Louie!
Cameron Smith is making a name for himself. The scuttlebutt around the tour is that this guy has “legendary” short game. It’s fun to see non-prolific guys with certain amazing facets to their golf game. Loren Roberts and Brad Faxon were the best putters of their generation yet only won a handful of tournaments. Ironically, Roberts missed a 4-foot putt to win the 1994 US Open at Oakmont. He ended up losing in a playoff to 2019 President’s Cup captain Ernie Els. How much does that bother “The Boss of the Moss” to this day? Contrarily, Shane Lowry was considered to have the best chipping game in the world last year and parlayed that into an Open Championship title. So, who knows? It will be fun to keep an eye on young Cameron. Smith also lambasted Patrick Reed calling him a cheater for improving his lie in the Bahamas. That’s pretty ballsy for a very slight built kid. Good thing golfers never fight. We’ll see how it plays out in Australia, but it would be fun to see them paired against one another.
The International Team has 4 participants from the Far East. They are Li Haotong from China, Pan Cheng-tsung from Chinese Taipei as well as Im Sung-jae and An Byeong-hun from South Korea. And that’s all I have to say on the subject. Thanks a lot Hank Haney!
Today’s matchups feature 5 four ball matches. This format is where you take the lower of the two scores between playing partners.
Match 1- Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann vs. Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas.
Tiger is eager to jump right into the mix so why not do it with America’s best player in Justin Thomas. Impressive the International team is throwing out Niemann first. They must have a lot of confidence in the young Chilean.
Match 2- Adam Hadwin and Singjae Im vs. Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
I predict this will be America’s best twosome all week. Hadwin and Im are going to get destroyed.
Match 3- Adam Scott and Byeong Hun An vs. Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.
Can Adam Scott step up and lead his team to an upset victory on his home soil? Scott seemed to have lost his fire since winning the Masters in 2013. This match will give us a hint whether he is up for the challenge against a tough American pairing.
Match 4- Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan vs. Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed.
All eyes will be on this match to see how Reed will handle the Aussie crowd. They paired Patrick with the mild-mannered Webb Simpson to possibly try to calm him down. Either that or Webb drew the short straw.
Abraham Ancer and Louis Oosthuizen vs. Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland.
This looks like an easy win for the Americans but I see Louie and Ancer scratching out a point to keep the International side in the competition. Say 3-2 for the USA at the end of the day. The US is too tough and deep so they will likely win another President’s Cup but if you’re a real golf fan you should probably be rooting for the International side. An imbalance of power makes any contest less interesting. It’s like when Tiger Woods was winning all those majors by 10 strokes and idiotic sports fans were cheering him on to win by 15. Why? What is wrong with you people? Don’t you want to see a tight match come down to the final holes? Don’t you enjoy competition? I never understood it but I don’t understand a lot of things about the American sporting public.
You can watch all the action this week on the Golf Channel. Play starts today at 5:30 est going until midnight.
Dan Redmond covers Golf for Breitbart and can be found on Twitter @danfromdc