The Loop

Why does the United States dominate the Presidents Cup? And four ways the International team can compete in 2015

October 02, 2015

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Historically, the Presidents Cup has been as one-sided as Blake Griffin vs. gravity. The event, which was intended to reproduce the galvanizing spirt of the Ryder Cup, has fallen short, at least in terms of competitiveness: In the 10 previous matchups, United States has won eight times, along with a tie in 2003.

What has spurred the American squad to such success? Golf Digest writers and editors address the subject in the latest Major Moments video series:

Which leads us to another pressing matter: Is there any hope for the International team in 2015?

Certainly, the roster's front line is as formidable as it's ever been. Louis Oosthuizen finished second at both the U.S. and British Opens. Adam Scott likewise submitted strong performances at Chambers Bay and St. Andrews, with a legitimate shot to win the latter in the closing holes. Danny Lee and Hideki Matsuyama are two of the game's rising stars.

Oh, and the Internationals have some cat named Jason Day, who I'm told has some potential as well.

Unfortunately for the International club, there is a dearth of depth. Not that the likes of Steven Bowditch and Sang-Moon Bae are lacking in game. However, compared to the Americans' second-tiered players, it's a noticeable drop-off in talent.

Not to say the outcome is preordained. In fact, there are signs that the U.S. could be in trouble. Here are four ways the International team could emerge victorious at the 2015 Presidents Cup:


Home-field advantage

Or rather, a lack thereof for the United States. Only three Presidents Cup matches have taken place outside North America, but the Americans' record in this series (1-1-1) pales in comparison to playing close to home (7-0). And this year's event in Incheon, South Korea, definitely qualifies as a road game for the Yankees. Don't be surprised if the not-as-friendly confines translates to uneven play from the Americans.

In a related note, only Sang-Moon Bae is from the host country, so don't expect crowd rowdiness to factor into the equation.


Searching for Ian Poulter

Concededly, not an easy task: with a 72.2 Ryder Cup winning percentage and two match play tournament wins, Poulter is one of the best head-to-head players in the sport's history.

But it's not that tough a find. Poulter is a hell of a player, yet he was never considered one of the game's elite. Stroke play and match competition are different animals. Just because you tame one beast doesn't mean the other can be put in the cage.

Could Charl Schwartzel, owner of a green jacket but of little else (zero worldwide wins since December 2013) fit this mold? The South African owns a career winning percentage in 10 Presidents Cup matches. Also worth the watch: Anirban Lahiri. Despite a smaller stature, the 28-year-old goes yard off the tee, evidenced in winning the PGA Championship Long-Drive Contest. He has a nice game to complement the big stick, finishing fifth at Whistling Straits.

Early reports paint the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea as a bomber's paradise, circling Lahiri as a possible x-factor for the Internationals.


American Apathy

A carefree, laid-back demeanor -- at least compared to the atmosphere of the Ryder Cup -- has been cited for the Americans' success in previous Presidents Cups. But could that strength turn into an Achilles' heel? We aren't casting aspirations of indifference on the U.S. team; Phil Mickelson's desire to be part of the event shows that's not the case.

However, if you're an American player, it's human nature to look at past results and expect similar fruition. Confidence in golf is good, but hubris can be fatal. Coupled with a radical time change, the U.S. could be lethargic in the match's early proceedings, affording a platform for the Internationals to make this a contest.


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Seriously, you know they have Jason Day, right?

As in, the guy who played poorly at the Tour Championship...and still finished 10th. Day has been King Midas with his clubs the past two months, and far be it from us to bet against golf's golden man. Furthermore, though he was a tad wild off the tee at East Lake Golf Club, the Nicklaus Korea course will not be considered an enclosed lot, bestowing free rein with the driver.

Day and winning have been synonymous with winning as of late. Holding the beaming Presidents Cup trophy seems like an apropos 2015 ending for the Australian.