Presidents Cup Rules 2013: Complete Format and Points System Primer

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 3, 2013

DUBLIN, OH - OCTOBER 01:  Jack Nicklaus speaks to the media at a press conference prior to the start of The Presidents Cup at the Muirfield Village Golf Club on October 1, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2013 Presidents Cup marks the 10th edition of the biennial competition between some of the world's best golfers, assembled in teams representing the United States and the greater international community.

It is a unique format in that it's match play, whereas the majority of professional events are stroke play. As far as the rules are concerned, there are many similarities between this and the Ryder Cup with regard to how points are awarded.

For a team to win, a minimum total of 17.5 points across 11 foursome and four-ball matches and 12 Sunday singles matches is needed.

Thursday kicks off the action at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio—known widely as the house that Jack Nicklaus built. It hosts the Memorial Tournament each PGA Tour season and is a venue where many of the game's biggest stars have enjoyed success.


Thursday, Oct. 3 through Saturday, Oct. 5: Fourball and Foursomes

DUBLIN, OH - OCTOBER 01:  International Team Assistant Captain Shigeki Maruyama of Japan waits with Hideki Matsuyama during a practice round at Muirfield Village Golf Club prior to the start of The Presidents Cup on October 1, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Phot
David Cannon/Getty Images

Six fourball matches will take place on Day 1, and that specific type of match pits two players per team against each other.

All four competitors play their own ball throughout the match, and each team chooses the lowest score between themselves on each hole. This makes strategy and course management interesting, because it lends itself to a lot of different scenarios.

For example, if both players on the same team are in the fairway on a reachable par-five, one of them can play safe and lay up while the other takes a shot at going for the green in two.

Situations such as those make it critical for teammates to have good chemistry and relations so they can have open lines of communication and be on the same page with regard to hole-by-hole tactics.

A point is awarded to the team that wins, but if the match is tied through 18 holes, each team receives a half-point.

Friday will foster six foursome matches. The rewards in terms of points are identical, but the format for foursomes is substantially different.

Foursomes are also two-on-two affairs, where one player on each team tees off on odd-numbered holes and the other player tees off on even-numbered holes. The teams' duos alternate shots on every hole until it is completed.

Saturday consists of five fourball and foursome matches apiece.


Sunday, Oct. 6: Singles

DUBLIN, OH - OCTOBER 01:  Tiger Woods of the U.S. Team waits on the practice ground prior to the start of The Presidents Cup on October 1, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Twelve singles matches will ultimately decide how the 2013 Presidents Cup shakes out. So much star power will be on display, including possible matchups such as the USA's Tiger Woods versus the International team's Adam Scott—the Nos. 1 and 2 players in the world, respectively.

If an individual has been lighting it up at Muirfield all week but his record doesn't reflect it due to having poor form from teammates, this is his chance to strut his stuff.

The format here is simple—whoever has the lowest number of strokes on a hole wins the hole.

Like the group matches, a half-point is awarded to each side if the two players tie, while a full point is awarded if there is a clear victor.

What makes this most exciting is not only the rare one-on-one nature of the singles format, but also that it consists of about one-third of the total matches in the Presidents Cup.

Since it's only two players, the speed of play tends to be faster, too—something that has been an issue on the PGA Tour in recent years.

Almost no deficit is impossible to overcome on Sunday, but the International team must enter singles in good shape, since they have won the Cup just once in nine previous attempts.