Presidents Cup 2013: USA's Narrow Victory Proves Competition Gap Is Closing

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 8, 2013

DUBLIN, OH - OCTOBER 06:  U.S. Team members (back row, L-R) Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Hunter Mahan (front row, L-R) Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Fred Couples, Jack Nicklaus, Bill Haas, Davis Love III and Jay Haas pose for pictures after the U.S. Team defeated the International Team 18.5 to 15.5 at Muirfield Village Golf Club on October 6, 2013  in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The USA held off a strong comeback charge from the International team at the 2013 Presidents Cup to win 18.5 to 15.5 Sunday at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

It pushed the Americans to 8-1-1 overall in the competition's history, but the close nature of the final outcome proves that the gap in competition is closing. That lopsided trend should start to even itself out in the coming years.

Captain Nick Price's international bunch deserves widespread acclaim for grinding it out and playing hard despite a massive deficit entering the 12 singles matches.

These golfers are all among the best in the world and weren't liable to throw in the towel, but the push to make the end result even moderate in suspense was reflective of the mindset and likely the upcoming trend in this tournament.

First of all, the International team had a legitimate superstar in world No. 2 Adam Scott. His Australian compatriot, Jason Day, did benefit from playing his home Muirfield course but is on a collision course to be the next big thing in international golf.

DUBLIN, OH - OCTOBER 01:   Jason Day (L) and Adam Scott of Australia and the International Team pose during a photocall on the practice ground prior to the start of The Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Course on October 1, 2013 in Dublin, Ohio.  (
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

There tends to be a lot of turnover in the biennial event's rosters. Between 2011 and 2013, there were six different American players and eight different International team members—including seven rookies.

Such numbers are a testament to the parity in and globalization of golf. It shows just how many good players there are, which could in and of itself help reverse the perpetual American command in the Presidents Cup.

It's hard to deny, though, that there is a talent gap between the Americans and the Internationals, whose team cannot include anyone from Europe.

Changes have been discussed frequently to make the competition fairer. With the way that the International team made up so much ground in singles play, it suggests that the International individuals can hang tough with their USA counterparts on any given day.

Depth on a roster tends to come out in group play, so perhaps more singles matches would serve as a better indicator of how these teams stack up.

Plus, more singles matches would cut the time it takes to play the tournament down and avoid possible Monday finishes, which loomed as a possibility at Muirfield after frequent rain delays slowed the event.

The delays also prevented either team from establishing much momentum, and it helped that galleries were working in the USA's favor for the most part. Although the score was lopsided entering Sunday's singles matches, many of the pairings came down to the wire.

Six of the USA's 14 points before singles play came by two holes or less.

Only a couple of weak links in Branden Grace and Richard Sterne, who both finished 0-4 for the International team, really didn't play their best. However, Sterne did put up a valiant fight against Tiger Woods, who clinched the Cup for the Americans in a 1-up victory.

As long as the International team continues to show this kind of heart and competes strong, a change will come in the results—if not the format.