GET INTO GOLF: Breaking down the upcoming President’s Cup |

GET INTO GOLF: Breaking down the upcoming President’s Cup

Although we play an essentially individual sport, next week’s televised event is a team competition known as the President’s Cup.

The President’s Cup is a biennial event that alternates each year with the Ryder Cup. Where the Ryder Cup is a match between the United States and Europe, the President’s Cup is a match (or series of matches) between the United States and the rest of the world.

The Ryder Cup matches have been played for decades, dating back to 1927. However, it was exclusive to European players. So, in 1994 the PGA Tour created the President’s Cup matches, a team of non-European, international players and former President Gerald Ford was the honorary chairman.

This year’s International team of 12 players is represented by eight countries and is determined by the World Golf Rankings (based on each player’s performance through August). The United States team is determined by earnings on the 2017 PGA Tour Money List.

The format of individual and two-man team match-play is drawn from the Ryder Cup, consisting of 12 players per side and a non-playing captain. The captains are responsible for pairing the teams in the doubles events, which consist of both alternate shot and best ball formats (also known as “foursome” and “four ball” matches).

Steve Stricker is the United States’ team captain which is led by Dustin Johnson and includes Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and PGA Champion Justin Thomas. This will be Stricker’s first year as captain, after being part of five winning President’s Cup teams.

Nick Price (South Africa) was chosen as the international team captain. Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama lead a talented squad that includes major winners Adam Scott (Masters) and Louis Oosthuizen (British Open).

However, rather than the common form of ‘stroke play’ that we see almost every week on Tour, the form of the President’s Cup is ‘match play.’ At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what a player’s total score might be, it matters how points have been won.

Each match, whether a team or singles match, is worth one point. With nine foursome (two player teams) matches, nine four ball (two player teams) matches and 12 singles matches that represents a total of 30 points (half points are awarded to each side in the event of a tie). To win the President’s Cup a team must accrue a total of 15.5 points.

Playing for your team, playing for your country, and playing a different format is a challenging change of pace for veteran and rookie alike. So, turn on Golf Channel Thursday and watch the world’s best players at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey.

John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at

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