1998. That’s it. The only time the International team won the Presidents Cup was 20 years ago. The players on this year’s International squad are hungry, especially after a narrow defeat in 2015.
In 2017, the Presidents Cup heads to Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ. The International team will have one of their best chances yet to dethrone the US and end their dominant run in this competition.
Golf has been labeled as a global game. However, the clear hierarchy is the United States, Europe and then everyone else.
In recent years the gap has closed. Asia and Australia have especially stepped their game up. South Africa always has a reliable player or two, and a recent rise from South America is exciting to see. The International team has always had good players, but now they have something better: depth.
Led by major champions and players that have skyrocketed in to the Top 30 in the World Golf Rankings, the International team can finally strike some fear in to the heart of their opponents. The American squad has grown accustomed to winning the Presidents Cup. They haven’t lost since the turn of the century so who can blame them.
Overall, Australia, Japan, South America, South Africa, South Korea and Canada are represented. This diverse team needs to come together quickly. Luckily, most of them already have Presidents Cup experience.
Unfortunately, this is also one of the youngest, most talented United States teams ever assembled. Major winners, Fed Ex Cup Champions and Top 10 players are littered throughout the team. Led by Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson, the US will not relinquish their title easily.
Conversely, the US just got over their long drought of coming up short in the Ryder Cup. A sliver of complacency and satisfaction might be just what the International team needs.
The competition itself desperately needs an International. Without it, this will continue to be a walk in the park to end the season for the US team. Here’s who will be crucial for the International squad if they want to get their hands back on the coveted Presidents Cup trophy.
Jason Day – This is the equivalent of an ace of a pitching staff in baseball. Jason Day is an incredible talent, especially in the past couple of seasons. He has won the PGA Championship, The Players Championship and rose to the number one player in the world at one point. Well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, the only thing he still has to cross off his list is a Presidents Cup win.
He has to be steaming over his previous performance in 2015. Day was the leader for the first time, but only managed to score 1/2 a point. Although this is a team competition and some of the results were out of his hand, even he will tell you has to do better. If a match goes a little differently over the course of the weekend, maybe the International team wins. However, that’s in the past.
Day is in good form once again and now that he knows what to expect he’ll be ready to attack.
Louis Oosthuizen – Another major champion, Louis Oosthuizen is built for the big moment. He performs the best when the pressure is at its highest. His third time as a team member of the Presidents Cup might be the charm for the team. In 2015, he was the star of the show. He did not drop a point the entire tournament, and had a thrilling singles match against Patrick Reed that ended up being halved.
Oosthuizen finished 2nd in the last major of the year this season, and had a decent showing in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He finished 31st, a spot out of qualifying for the Tour Championship. For Louis, this might have been best case scenario. He got a week off for the biggest tournament of the season, and will be ready to back up Jason Day as they head in to the Presidents Cup.
The Supporting Cast
Hideki Matsuyama – Matsuyama could easily be in the category above, but he’s not there just yet. He is now the No. 3 ranked player in the world, and had one of the best seasons of his young career. At 25, he is the star of the next generation for the International team, and if they win this year, Matsuyama will have his fingerprints all over it.
He scored 3.5 points in 2015, and the world took notice of his talent. Now in 2017 everyone knows his name. Pressure will be at an all-time high, but without Day, Oosthuizen and even Adam Scott still on the team, Matsuyama still has time to grow in to the leader. He is definitely the best player on the International team, but the verdict is still if he can handle the most pressure on the team.
Marc Leishman – A typical Aussie, Leishman is a go-with-the-flow, care-free golfer. He never lets anything on the course get to him, and that ability to stay level at all times is crucial in a competition like this. He has finished Top 20 in every major championship, and has a total of three career PGA Tour wins. The latest came in the 2017 FedEx Cup Playoffs. It was a dominant performance that gave him an outside chance at hoisting the FedEx Cup, but his bid came up short. He beat an impressive field at the BMW Championship by five strokes, and his closest competition included the likes of Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose.
Leishman will be ready to handle the pressure because he rarely ever feels pressure. In 2015, he scored 1 1/2 points for the International squad. The highlight of the week for him had to be dueling Jordan Spieth on Sunday. Leishman outlasted him 1 up for a crucial point that kept hope alive.
Adam Hadwin (Canada), Si Woo Kim (South Korea), Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas (both of South America) are all first-timers. This tournament usually takes an effort by the whole team. These four will need to adapt quickly, handle the pressure and rise to the occasion if the International team wants to bring home the title.
For a complete list of ticket options for the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National in New Jersey, check out TicketNetwork.com!