The 2013 Presidents Cup gets underway Thursday with an intriguing matchup between a team representing the United States and a team representing the best of the international players, excluding Europe.
This competition has been historically lopsided, with the Americans prevailing in all but one of the nine previous encounters and one tie.
Although it's similar to the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup is unique in that it takes 17.5 points to capture the trophy. If there is a tie, no sudden death is played to determine a winner, nor does the Cup remain with the reigning champion.
There is plenty of excitement to be had with Jack Nicklaus hosting the event at his home Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
As might be expected, the legendary competitor in Nicklaus provided a worthy soundbite about how the visitors shouldn't be taken lightly:
Australian Jason Day, one of the international side's best players, is eager to win for his teammates and prove Nicklaus right in his second appearance:
The match play format lends itself to unpredictability, as the first three days will feature two-on-two battles before many of the planet's best golfers go mano a mano Sunday.
In preparation for this biennial showdown, here is a general overview of the dates, TV schedule and tee times. That information will be followed by early predictions about what will transpire as the unique clash progresses.
When: Thursday, Oct. 3, to Sunday, Oct. 6
Where: Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio
Jordan Spieth's Star Will Continue to Soar
The 20-year-old was a no-brainer captain's pick for Fred Couples, and there's no reason this latest monumental stage should intimidate Spieth.
After carding nine top-10 finishes, including a win at the John Deere Classic, and finishing eighth in the FedEx Cup playoffs, there's no doubting Spieth as the "next big thing" in American golf.
Among the encouraging elements of Spieth's makeup are his well-rounded game and his knack for finishing strong. Part of that is due to his youth and having shorter recovery times between rounds of golf, but he also possesses an innate clutch ability that few others seem to have.
For a kid who started with no status on the PGA Tour in 2013 to rise to No. 21 in the world rankings is, well, unheard of. Spieth is going to continue to shine, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him pull out a pivotal singles win Sunday.
Adam Scott Leads Furious International Charge
The Aussie has ascended to a career-best No. 2 in the world, trailing only Tiger Woods, and he had a magnificent season that featured his first major win at the Masters and a win at The Barclays.
Scott was a captain's pick for the Presidents Cup in 2009, when his game was in bad shape. Greg Norman's choice turned out to be a turning point in Scott's career, which was slumping at the time. It gave Scott the necessary spark to capitalize on his immense potential.
For the second time in a row, Scott returns to the International team as a leader—now playing the best golf of his career.
The sense of urgency for the International squad to win is something Scott senses, per Golf.com:
With a superstar compatriot like Day and a bunch of prolific first-timers, including 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, it is Scott's time to emerge as the impassioned cornerstone that gives this frequently defeated team a lift.
USA Wins in Convincing Fashion
As strong as the International roster is, the presence of Woods can't be dismissed at a venue where he's won the Memorial Tournament an unprecedented five times.
Woods has won a record 10 matches in foursomes, so whomever he is paired with stands a good chance of winning. Plus, the team of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner has had tangible success, going 2-0 together at the 2012 Ryder Cup.
The energy Spieth will bring to the home American crowd will be big, and the successful Ryder Cup tandem of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley has no reason to be dissolved in Dublin.
If International players like Hideki Matsuyama, Graham DeLaet and Branden Grace continue raising their profiles to the extent they have in recent years, the 2015 squad will be formidable.
However, this is uncharted territory for the rookies. With experience and past success on the USA's side, it's hard to see the USA blowing this one.
Prediction: USA Wins, 19.5-14.5