Presidents Cup 2019: Rules, Format and Points System Primer for Golf Tournament

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

US golfer and captain of the US Presidents Cup team Tiger Woods holds the trophy at a press conference in Melbourne on December 6, 2018, one year ahead of the 2019 edition to be held at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE --        (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

A number of the world's finest golfers head to Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia this week for the 13th running of the Presidents Cup.

The event pits the United States' best players against an International contingent that excludes European golfers. The tournament has been dominated by Team USA since its inception; they've won 10 of the 12 editions so far.

However, the International team will feel confident of winning the trophy this time around, with their only previous win coming at the Melbourne venue in 1998. The tournament was tied in 2013.



Thursday: Round 1, Four-balls

Friday: Round 2, Foursomes

Saturday: Round 3, Four-balls. Round 4, Foursomes

Sunday: Round 5, Singles



The event works on a matchplay scoring system, with each team picking up a point for a win in their respective matches. If the fixture finishes all square, the point is halved.

The four-balls sees each member of a pair playing a ball, with the lowest counting towards the matchplay score. The foursomes see the players alternatively hit one ball.



International: Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Cheng-Tsung Pan, Cameron Smith, Sung-Jae Im, Adam Hadwin, Joaquin Niemann, Byeong-Hun AN

USA: Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland



The competition is popular given the team format and star names that it attracts. The respective skippers for this year's event have given it extra gravitas too.

Tiger Woods is the man who will lead the United States as a playing captain, and he seeks to finish off what has been a memorable 2019.

The 15-time major champion comes into the competition in good form, having finished fourth at the Hero World Challenge. Per the PGA Tour, the 43-year-old was driving the ball a long way at the Albany Golf Club:


Age is just a number. Just ask @TigerWoods. https://t.co/kZec6UqeCX

"It's an honour and tremendous responsibility to be able to defend and represent our country," Woods said of captaining the team, per George Willis of the New York Post. "Especially since we're going to Australia, a place where we lost the Cup for the one time. I happen to be there on that team."

In terms of world rankings, Woods has the stronger set of players, even with the world's best player Brooks Koepka absent due to injury.

It means Ernie Els and his International team are outsiders for the title, although they will relish the challenge of going up against such illustrious opponents. Per the competition's Twitter account, in the past the Melbourne crowd have been able to play a big role unsettling the visiting team:

Presidents Cup @PresidentsCup

The first time we were at @royal_melbourne ... "@Australia wrapped their arms around the Presidents Cup ... and the energy got sucked right into the team and boom..." The @Melbourne fans will be a very important 13th #IntlTeam member this week.

Els, who is a non-playing captain, said he's excited about the week ahead:

Ernie Els @TheBig_Easy

Great to be ‘down under’ again! Definitely one of the strongest @AusOpenGolf fields in many years & for me as captain @PresidentsCup it’s exciting having the majority of my international team teeing it up here. @PGAofAustralia @PGATOUR

Given the respective strength in depth, it's difficult to see any result other than a United States win again. Woods is in fine form himself, while Reed, Thomas, Woodland, Fowler, Schauffele and Finau were all among the top 10 at the Hero World Challenge too.

Even with the Melbourne crowd at their back, it's difficult to envisage anything other than a significant margin between the two teams.