Column: Even a one-sided Presidents Cup can be entertaining

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The ultimate match of the morning session ended, and gamers in carts navigated their manner by way of components of 40,000 spectators at Quail Hollow. The grandstand across the first tee already was filling an hour earlier than the following session on the Presidents Cup.

Music was blaring, the gang was chanting. The scene introduced one phrase to thoughts.

Golf, however louder.


The slogan of LIV Golf comes naturally on the Presidents Cup, and it’s even louder on the Ryder Cup, the place the heritage is deeper and the competitors extra intense.

Nothing brings out ardour like group golf — as soon as a yr — even when the matches have been as one-sided because the Presidents Cup.

Peel away the historical past and different components that make comparisons unreasonable, and the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup every have had the identical variety of occasions — 5 — that weren’t determined till the ultimate hour, courting to 1995.

No one anticipated this Presidents Cup to be one in all them. The Americans successful 17 1/2 to 12 1/2 was extra about who that they had than who the International group didn’t.

That didn’t cease unsolicited options at first of the week on find out how to repair the Presidents Cup, and the chatter solely elevated after the Americans constructed an 8-2 lead after two periods.

The brief reply on what ought to be finished? Nothing at worse, not a lot at finest.

This was a stage for world-class golfers — 15 of the highest 25 on the earth had been at Quail Hollow. On Friday, there have been 67 birdies and three eagles from 10 gamers in 5 matches over 87 holes.

The leisure was excessive. The monumental gallery was loud.

What can’t be modified is the amount, at the least in America.

Think again to Ryder Cup at Medinah in 2012: The European followers had been outnumbered, positive, however that they had a voice. The International group has no fan base to journey, not with a group cobbled collectively from 5 continents exterior Europe. Anytime a cheer resounded throughout Quail Hollow, it was apparent what it meant.

“It makes a distinction,” stated Paul Azinger, who has been a part of a dozen cups as a participant, captain or broadcaster. “Overall, it’s not going to alter the end result. But it’s good to have that assist. The Europeans fed off the vitality on the crowd in Medinah. That complete recreation modified. You might hear the distinction in the way in which they cheered.”

The PGA Tour, which solely runs the Presidents Cup apart from letting the Internationals choose their very own uniforms (together with a few different small particulars), might at all times think about a couple of adjustments.

The Presidents Cup started with 32 matches in 1994, elevated to 34 matches in 2003 and was lowered to 30 matches in 2015. What’s mistaken with 28? That’s been the Ryder Cup format for 1979, and it has labored simply effective.

Fewer matches make it more durable on the captains having to sit down 4 gamers every session, and groups have been in a position to disguise weaknesses. But it at the least helps to maintain it shut.

Secondly, transfer to 3 days as an alternative of 4. The great thing about the Ryder Cup is the relentless motion from the opening tee shot Friday morning and till the ultimate putt Sunday. For the Presidents Cup, it has a extra start-and-stop high quality with one session Thursday, one on Friday after which a weekend dash.

Of course, that might imply one much less day of income, and that’s a large a part of the Presidents Cup.

As it’s, the Americans have a 12-1-1 lead within the collection. Their solely loss was at Royal Melbourne in 1998 when it ended 12 days earlier than Christmas.

Davis Love III was requested forward of the matches if he was nervous about turning into the following Dennis Conner, the skipper within the 1983 America’s Cup that ended the longest successful streak in sport. The Presidents Cup isn’t that outdated, and Love wasn’t that nervous.

Besides, is an International victory actually going to alter something?

The Americans will at all times be measured by their Ryder Cup document. And it’s not as if they fight any much less regardless of successful the Presidents Cup 9 occasions in a row.

A couple of gamers had been so offended about shedding two late matches Saturday — the American lead was solely 4 factors as an alternative of six — that whereas Love’s message to them was to get to the factors required to win the cup, it was clear that wasn’t ok.

“These guys had a totally different quantity in thoughts,” he stated with a chuckle.

The Presidents Cup has delivered compelling matches, like Royal Melbourne in 2019 and South Korea in 2015.

Ernie Els gave the International group a protect for its brand when he was captain in 2019. The PGA Tour helped this yr by “de-Americanizing” the principle Presidents Cup brand, changing a semi-circle of stars with a stable arch over the gold cup.

It’s the little issues that assist the International create an id.

The Internationals practically received — most likely ought to have received — in Melbourne and couldn’t look forward to the rematch. Saudi-funded LIV Golf shopping for off at the least 4 gamers didn’t assist the trigger, and but they nonetheless put up a cheap battle.

Next up is Royal Montreal in 2024.

It will be loud. It will be entertaining. And that ought to be sufficient.


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