The Presidents Cup grief train

And so it goes once more, the USA wins the 2009 Presidents Cup beating the Internationals 19.5 to 14.5. The AAP report described it best in the first few lines:

The International team continued its record of utter futility on the road when it suffered a five-point defeat at the hands of the Americans…

Last week a reporter asked Geoff Ogilvy if perhaps it’s not such a big deal if the Internationals don’t lose as they won’t get much grief for losing. Ogilvy couldn’t help but agree and I do too. But that has to change and they need to cop some grief. International team captain Greg Norman isn’t helping matters with these statements:

“I’ve met 12 people from nine different countries. To understand where they are and how they’ve got to where they are today is a tremendous victory for me.

“Of course we wanted to win but if you look back on it it’s a tremendous success as far as I’m concerned.”

“Victory” and “tremendous success” aren’t phrases I’d associate with this lacklustre performance and sounds like it’s from someone relatively happy to finish second.

In hindsight, and that’s what you use to evaluate and get better, Norman should have had Ernie Els up against Tiger Woods. It appeared all weekend as though he’d written off anyone beating Woods and focused on the other matches – with all due respect to those that played against Tiger. Perhaps pairings from the same region is a good way to go. Yang and Ishikawa played well when paired up and Allenby and Ogilvy won convincingly.

There were no doubt some excellent performances on the weekend. The pick of Adam Scott was almost justified, Tim Clark was very good at times and Robert Allenby did everything right until Sunday. Ryo Ishikawa and Ernie Els finished with the best results (3-2) from the weekend but there was a lot of passengers in the International team.

Geoff Ogilvy was horrible the first few days, while Camilo Villegas and Angel Cabrera didn’t record a win. Even Vijay wasn’t very good with 3 losses against his name.

Take nothing away from the USA team. They also had a few passengers as well but on the whole the golf played from these guys was fantastic and a standard you’d expect – then there was Tiger Woods of course on another level altogether, closely followed by Steve Stricker.

But the Internationals cannot be happy with this performance. The event was great to watch and matchplay is so refreshing to see after a glut of stroke events all year. They must not sugar coat the event as a success or any sort of victory until they win. It’s for the good of the event and to get fans flocking to the very different golf course of Royal Melbourne in two years time, itching to see an International victory. A real one.

P.S. I must congratulate One Eyed Golfer on winning the little wager we had on the event. there’s talk of double-or-nothing on Australian Masters predictions. Stay tuned.

One thought on “The Presidents Cup grief train

  • Care for some views from the American side?

    Perhaps because the American team was accused for so long of not caring about the Ryder Cup, maybe it’s made me a little sensitive to similar accusations being made against the International team; but I’m not so sure that it’s fair to say the Internationals were “lacklustre.” Here’s what I saw:

    We had the top 3 players on the planet… and they played like it. It takes 17.5 points to win the Cup (unlike Ryder Cup, no ties are allowed) and Woods, Mickelson, and Stricker accounted for 9.5 of those, all posting their best individual scores ever. That would make it tough against anybody, no matter how they were playing.

    Granted, Camilo didn’t win a match, but neither did Lucas Glover, the US Open champion. (Cabrera did win his singles match 4 & 3.) And Tim Clark played some awesome golf, but was unfortunate enough to play three of his matches against our Big 3.

    As for matchups… there was no way Woods wasn’t going to play Yang. I know Yang said he didn’t expect it, but all the media could talk about was a rematch. Frank Nobilo talked to the guys at Golf Channel (he’s normally a commentator for them, you know) and he said that one thing he would change is the way singles are set up; he said blind matchups (like the Ryder Cup) would give a trailing team a better chance to win on strategy. The way it is, the opposing team can always counter your choice.

    Some changes definitely need to be made. I think Norman (at his press conference) said he would be making some suggestions to the PGA to try and improve the competition. But it’s worth remembering that the Ryder Cup was awfully one-sided for decades until two things happened: The British-Irish team was expanded to include all of Europe… and Seve Ballesteros.

    The Internationals now have Ryo Ishikawa. Tiger was asked what he thought about Ryo’s game and Tiger said that, while he was longer at Ryo’s age, Ryo has way more shots than he had. And to make sure nobody missed the point, Tiger simply said Ryo is better at 18 than he was.

    If the Tour makes a few constructive changes to the Cup, I don’t think it’ll stay one-sided too long.


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