IN AN ODD WEEK THAT INCLUDED a squirrel named Sammy, buckets of rain and a speedy female streaker, the United States won its fifth straight Presidents Cup, fending off the Internationals by the score of 18.5 to 15.5. World No. 1 Tiger Woods secured the deciding point by beating Richard Sterne 1-up.
The International team narrowed a wide gap on Sunday by winning 7.5 of 12 possible points in the singles matches. According to the New York Times‘ Karen Crouse, there was potential for greater interest and drama on the final day, if only captains Fred Couples and Nick Price would have cooperated.
Golf was the big loser at the 10th Presidents Cup, but not because the United States — by the score of 18 ½-15 ½ — defeated an International team, composed of the top non-European players, for the fifth consecutive time and the eighth time in the event’s history. The time is coming when the rising talent in Asia will leave the Americans, who led at one point by 17-10, longing for the days when success in the event was as much of a gimme as Woods’s second putt on 18.
With the authority to wring some excitement out of a four-day deluge interrupted by what amounted to a lavishly produced exhibition, the captains Fred Couples and Nick Price whiffed.
The format called for them to pick their matchups the way people do their fantasy teams, in an open draft. The circumstances were tailor-made to manufacture enough buzz to help cut through the nasty weather and a day crammed with N.F.L. games and baseball playoff action. Woods versus Scott could have been thrilling, like watching Usain Bolt race Tyson Gay on the track. Also there for the public’s entertainment loomed Jordan Spieth versus Hideki Matsuyama in a showdown of rookies whose average age is under 21, and Ernie Els versus Phil Mickelson in a pairing of the last two British Open champions.
The possibilities were thrilling.
But those possibilities didn’t come to pass. It rained hard on Sunday. The most exciting thing that happened on the 18th hole might have been the streaker who sprinted down the fairway.
“I did my pairings this morning to try and win the Cup, not to put 1 or 2 together,” Price said after it was all over.
While we’re focusing on the negative, the tape-delayed broadcast by NBC was disappointing. Another reminder that the Presidents Cup isn’t the Ryder Cup.
2 thoughts on “New York Times: Captains ‘Whiffed’ at Presidents Cup”
NBC's decision to tape-delay was shameful. When I got home and started to watch the event was over in real time, as my phone informed me. I immediately switched over to the baseball. Taped coverage is obsolete and whoever is running the network must know it.
On the Sunday matchups, the captains are there to win, and if Price, by slotting Sterne, was essentially "conceding" the point to Woods (on a course where TW plays very well) in order to strengthen the other matchups, that is what he should do.
The captain's job is to create the most favorable set of matchups. Price may have essentially conceded a point to Woods, given that Muirfield Village is a course TW usually tears up. But that allowed him to create better matchups for the Internationals overall. I say he was going about his job the right way, and he almost pulled off the upset.
NBC's coverage decision was ridiculous, of course. I saw the PGA Tour's alert on Twitter as I was watching the coverage and I then started watching more of the football and and baseball. Presidents Cup isn't Ryder Cup, but tape-delay is simply obsolete in the modern media world.