If world rankings are any indication of strength, then the U.S. team conjures up Goliath to the International’s David as the two prepare to for their biennial meeting in the President's Cup at Muirfield GC in Columbus, Ohio.
The U.S. includes eight top-20 players in the world to the International’s three, and six of those Americans are in the top 10. Add to that the fact that the Americans hold a 7-1-1 record in the President’s Cup overall and you have all of the makings of a mythological slaughter.
This may sound like a mismatch, but hope reigns eternal for those who know how the biblical tale ended.
And that may be what the International squad is banking on: a youthfully exuberant team with the guts, energy and creativity to knock over the over-confident American behemoth.
This year marks the 10th time the two teams have played against each other in a format developed to give the world’s best non-European players an opportunity to compete in international match-play competition. The contrived but still entertaining event is basically an alternative format to the Ryder Cup.
The last time the two teams met veterans Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods led the charge as the team outscored its opponent 8-3 in foursomes, soundly beating their opponents by four points (19-15).
This year’s U.S. team, captained by Fred Couples, is spearheaded by Woods, Mickelson and Stricker with a bevy of hot players including the rising star Jordan Spieth, a captain’s pick who basically replaced Furyk.
Captain Nick Price’s International team has only this year’s Masters champ Adam Scott to lean on. That is not to say that majors winners Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera aren’t formidable, but there are seven first-time players on the team, the most in President’s Cup history, and it is a list of guys whom American golf fans barely know. If only Sweden was not part of Europe.
While the official pairings have yet to be made, herein lies a projection of best bets as the 2013 President’s Cup gets ready to tee off.