The 2013 Presidents Cup starts Thursday at Muirfield Village Golf Links in Dublin, Ohio, where the United States will look to improve to 8-0-1 overall against its International opponents.
Although the match play event is similar to the Ryder Cup in many respects, one key difference is that each team sees the other's lineup card. Each side then matches up accordingly based on the pairings.
This difference allows captains to be in more direct control, and it helps level the playing field and raise the stakes of each match, to a degree.
Let's look at the dates for this year's competition, as well as each squad's projected scoring leaders over the course of four days.
|Thu., Oct. 3||12 - 6 p.m.||Six fourball matches||Golf Channel|
|Fri., Oct. 4||1 - 6 p.m.||Six foursome matches||Golf Channel|
|Sat., Oct. 5||8 a.m.||Five foursome matches (starting at 7:33 a.m.); Five fourball matches (starting at 1:21 p.m.)||NBC|
|Sun., Oct. 6||Noon||12 singles matches||NBC|
Projected Scoring Leaders
Tiger Woods, the top-ranked player in the world, has won five times at Muirfield in the Memorial Tournament, and he has 10 victories in Presidents Cup foursomes—the most in history.
According to Helen Ross of PGATour.com, Woods looks as though he'll play with either Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner or Steve Stricker—or all three.
Pairing Woods with anyone is going to create a good team, but Stricker has had success with him in the past, while Kuchar and Dufner are two of the steadiest ball-strikers in the world.
Phil Mickelson's loss to Adam Scott in singles in 2011 was his first lost match since a Friday fourball in 2007. Lefty's record is 18-14-10 overall, and he's the only golfer who has played in every Presidents Cup too.
Considering he and Keegan Bradley went 3-0 in the 2012 Ryder Cup, it would be surprising to see that dynamic duo broken up in this one. International captain Nick Price will have a hard time trying to figure out how to counter that emotionally charged tandem.
International: Adam Scott, Jason Day and Graham DeLaet
The Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day are the leaders of this team and must perform to their full potential for the International side to have any chance.
Scott, now the second-ranked player on the planet, is coming off a wonderful season in which he won his first major at the Masters as well as The Barclays.
Day, who has immense talent but just one PGA Tour victory to his credit, is an Ohio resident and knows the venue well.
Who will be the International team's best rookie?
The law of averages makes DeLaet one of the top scorers somewhat by default. Price's roster consists of seven rookies out of 12 players, so it stands to reason that at least one will rise above the rest.
DeLaet is great candidate to do so.
Based on 2013 statistics, he is the best driver of the golf ball on the International team, hits the most greens in regulation, is the fourth-best scrambler and is tied for third in strokes gained putting.
A late-season surge consisting of a joint second at The Barclays and a solo third at the Deutsche Bank Championship gave the Canadian an automatic spot on this team.
If that clutch form down the stretch of the tour's postseason is any indication, DeLaet should be a big contributor to the International team's success.