Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 Presidents Cup - Post Mortem

Captain Couples, undefeated.
Final score 19-15 in favor of the US squad vs the Internationals in the 2011 Presidents Cup from Melbourne, AU. This was a bit closer in final day singles matches than it appears. Still, the Internationals were faced with an unprecedented task of coming from four points behind on the last day, considering no team has ever overcome a deficit in singles. Four early wins gave the Internationals some false hope. The back loaded US squad prevailed when Cup veterans Furyk, Toms, Woods, and Stricker sealed the deal. Not exactly compelling on the last day, but at least interesting.

Some observations gleaned by this Average Golfer's astute eye....

The Presidents Cup isn't the Ryder Cup by any stretch. Drawing from a global pool the Prez Cup participants don't have the team chemistry of a Euro Ryder team. Language barriers and infrequent contact contribute. History's on the Ryder side as well. The difference in intensity and seriousness is palpable.

Robert Allenby had a tough week. Coming off a missed cut in the previous week's Australian Open, Robert Allenby hoped to validate captain Norman's faith in him and his familiarity with Royal Melbourne by turning in a good performance. Didn't happen. 0-4-0 record made Norman's comments regarding the Tiger Woods captain's pick ring hollow. Allenby putted like he was drunk for two weeks.

Home field advantage wasn't there. Five Aussies made Norman's roster. RM was supposed to be their own private Idaho. Combined 7-14-3 record for the quintet dispelled that notion.

Royal Melbourne was on the edge. Yes. Bath tub slick greens, harder than 10th grade math, coupled with some howling wind, made certain holes ridiculously difficult to play. All in all in one of the most spectacular venues in the world. I just hate to see some of the world's best win or lose a hole in match play on what's essentially luck.

Tiger Woods made a statement here. Yes and no. Yes, his full swing appears to be rounding into form, proven by the return of the patented stinger. Yes, he made putts in the singles round to trounce Aaron Baddeley. No, his 2-3-0 record for the tourney didn't win it for the US.

Jim Furyk was MVP. 5-0-0. Nuff' said. Furyk's missing putting stroke magically reappeared and he became just the 4th player in Cup history to win five matches.

No substitute for experience. Example, Mickelson 3-1-0, Mahan 4-1-0. Having been there means a lot. Much was made of International rookies KT Kim and Ryo Ishikawa having breakout tourneys. Fact is they were a combined 4-4-0. Not embarrassing, but .500 doesn't win Cups.

Jason Day had a tough week too. It sure seemed like he was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. The wind wreaked havoc with his high ball flight and sent him all over the property. Day's a better player than he showed, but better learn to hit the ball lower when needed.

Norman's suggestions worth a look. In a post-round interview Greg Norman suggested that in the interest of a more competitive tournament the captains should be allowed four picks with eight qualifiers. Makes some sense given the vast pool the International team has to draw from. He also postulated that the home team have the ability to counter with their picks in the pairings rather than the defending team as it is now. Again, worth consideration. Seemingly small changes might have some impact. As it's been, this Cup is a mismatch every two years.

To sum, interesting, not history making. Face it, between the Ryder and the Prez Cup the US squad plays in one of these every year. We should win. I was about to suggest a biennial US v. The World event until I remembered the tarring we took in the last Ryder.

*Swing extra hard, they'll make more.


  1. Regarding Norman's comments, what's he going to ask for next, two a side to even things up? Just get better players and the competition will be more compelling. The Prez cup is a minor league event compared to Ryder and exists to leverage Ryder for a little off-season buzz and some extra cash. Great summary, thanks!

  2. Just swapping Vijay for Allenby would have helped a ton.

    Thx for the look!

  3. Yes, the team selections, especially the captain's picks are not merit based but designed to generate more buzz (Tiger for the U.S. and Allenby as the hometown boy.) Norman could have taken Vijay and Couples, Bradley, but again, it's about generating buzz/TV ratings and making money. The Ryder teams, both Euro and US are more about getting the best/hottest players on the course at the right time.

  4. True, no gravitas compared to Ryder. Still, decent spectacle, great course other than some edginess with the set up.