Presidents Cup: 5 Reasons for USA Domination
The United States has completely dominated the Presidents Cup. The 2011 win at Royal Melbourne was their seventh; against only one loss and one draw. The main reason for their success is the competition they face.
The International Team does not have the talent to match the USA. That does not explain everything as the Ryder Cup results have shown.
The International Team lacks the camaraderie that the United States or Europe has. They are not representing an international tour out to prove its merit. Those are two big factors in Europe's Ryder Cup success.
The International Squad has seen its superstars emerge in a widely staggered time frame. The European squads seem to produce top level talent within a short period.
The lack of depth hurt the international team in singles competition. The foursomes and four-ball teams have been hurt by increasing the number of players who compete.
Here are the five reasons why the USA has dominated the Presidents Cup.
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The International squad has no identity of its own. They unite because they are not Americans or Europeans. Obviously they want to play well, but it is impossible to capture that extra motivation.
Consider the vastly different cultures seen by the International Squad. You have Australians, Koreans, Japanese, South Africans, even South Americans in the past. Naturally it is going to be harder for players to click with less in common.
No Battle Against PGA Tour
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The top players on the International Team are PGA Tour members. Adam Scott, Jason Day, K.J. Choi and Aaron Baddeley all play the vast majority of their time in the United States. Other players like Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel split time.
What does not exist is an attempt to prove a home tour can compete with the PGA Tour. This sentiment exists with many of the European players. No one is trying to play for the Australiasia Tour's pride. Again, it is another bit of motivation that cannot be generated by the International Squad.
Age of Elite Members
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There has always been a generational gap in elite talent that has hurt the International Squad. The exception was the 2003 Cup, which ended up in a tie. Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, all multiple major winners were near top form. Greg Norman and Nick Price were over the hill by the time those three developed.
The current squad could have benefited greatly from a slightly younger version of Singh, Els, or Goosen. Even Angel Cabrera could have been of benefit. The age gap always seems slightly too large with the top players.
The future isn't ready until the present is over the hill.
Depth in Singles
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In 2011 Team USA had two players outside the top 25 in the world rankings. The International team had seven. Golf is obviously not predictable based simply on world ranking. However, the United States has a clear advantage at the bottom.
Any USA player could win a singles match and it would not be very surprising. When the international team plays its weakest players, they are decided underdogs.
Depth Hurts Pairings
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The United States can make super pairings with nearly their entire roster. The International team has no such luxury. Either you pair strong players and leave extremely weak teams or spread out the stars among the pairs.
Either option is troubling. Your stars could be diluted by poor partners or your team could be ravaged by weak pairings. Exceptional play needs to occur for a realistic chance to keep up. Team USA just needs to count on expected performance.
Increasing the number of team matches hurt the International team. Prior to 2003, only singles used all 12 members. The initial foursomes and four-ball match-ups now require the entire team to play.