Josh Culp

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Presidents Cup Preview

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


The 12th running of the Presidents Cup is set to take place this week as the United States squad will square off against the International team at Liberty National Golf Club.


It's hardly a rivalry at this point, as the International team has won just one time in the history of the event (1998) and they will have another tough task ahead of them this week as they take on the United States team on American soil with views of the Statue of Liberty reminding them that, all week.


The Course is Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey. It will be the first time hosting this event, but quite a few golfers will be familiar with the venue as it's hosted THE NORTHERN TRUST on two occasions (2009, 2013). Among those familiar with the course is Kevin Chappell who owns the course record here (62, R3/2013).


Looking at a breakdown of the course, it is a par 71 with bentgrass greens that plays to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. To spice it up for this week's event, all three of the par 5s are on the outward nine which leaves a trio of par 3s on the back nine, including two of the three finishing holes.


Is there an edge in the course experience department? Eight golfers from the United States team have played this course in competition (12 total starts) while the International team has four golfers that have made seven starts at Liberty National. Give the edge to U.S. there, but the International side does have a past champ here (Adam Scott, 2013). I'd say that may even the score a bit. No distinct edge when it comes to course history here.


Now that we've glanced at the course, let's look at the golfers for both teams and then on page three I will offer up some predictions...


United States


D
ustin Johnson

Experience: 4-4-1 (2011, 2015)


His stoic nature keeps him in every match but it also prevents him from having that true "intimidation" factor. The silent fist pump just doesn't get you hot under your collar as much as a finger-waving shush, per se. He's always a great teammate on paper but a 9-11-2 career record in team competitions makes you think he is a special breed who needs to play his own ball to fully flourish.


Jordan Spieth

Experience: 5-4-0 (2013, 2015)


The ultimate Swiss Army Knife, I think he'd pair up well with anyone. If Justin Thomas would have cracked some international teams before now, then JT and Spieth may have been the magical duo. Instead, him and Reed are now the stone-cold killers that plow through the competition. Spieth said he felt very uncomfortable with the putter in hand last week (-2.170 SG Putting on the week) so he'll need to get that ironed out before adding to his career 9-3-2 team record (Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup combined).


Justin Thomas

Experience: Rookie


After the year he just posted, it's hard to imagine/remember that Thomas has zero experience on the United States squad (Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup). Looking at his career singles record outside of team competitions, he is just 1-5-0 as a professional. This is probably a case where the current form trumps the poor history, but it is a bit concerning.


Daniel Berger

Experience: Rookie


Like Thomas, Berger is also making his debut on Team USA and is also just 1-5-0 in his career at the WGC-Match Play. Who will his natural partner be? Perhaps it would be Thomas but then you have a very inexperienced team. Instead, they may try to give him and Lefty a shot as the duo has a fun relationship together. You may remember the story that Mickelson told Berger he couldn't call him Philip until he won on TOUR.


Brooks Koepka

Experience: Rookie


Koepka is making his first trip to the Presidents Cup but unlike Thomas and Berger, Koepka has some Ryder Cup experience. It was good experience too, as Koepka posted a 2-1-0 record at Hazeltine last year. The fans will want him to reunite with his bash brother, DJ, who went 0-1-0 together at Hazeltine. To be fair, they were taking on the hot item on the European squad, Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters. I hope we get to see Johnson and Koepka back at it but he would also make a solid pairing with fellow Florida State(r) Daniel Berger.


Rickie Fowler

Experience: 1-3-0 (2015)


During the 2015 Presidents Cup, Fowler went 1-1-0 with Jimmy Walker by his side, while going 0-1-0 with Patrick Reed. Fowler also got romped by Adam Scott in singles (6 and 5). The Oklahoma State product won't have Walker as an option this week, so his next most-paired partner would be Phil Mickelson. They are 1-2-0 together so I don't think it's vital to keep them together. Instead, I would like to see Fowler join up with good buddy, and likely Player of the Year, Justin Thomas.


Kevin Kisner

Experience: Rookie


He's a streaky player so it's a promising sign that he was right in the mix last week at East Lake. One of the better putters on TOUR and he keeps the ball in play off the tee. Could consider him to be a Kuchar-lite, but with a bit more fire. Kisner doesn't have any experience in team competition and is 3-3-0 in his career at the WGC-Match Play.


Patrick Reed

Experience: 1-2-1 (2015)


Captain America is heralded for his performance in the Ryder Cup but that same fire didn't ignite in his 2015 Presidents Cup debut. Should still be considered a very strong asset for Team USA, given his strong record at the RC and in match-play events, in general. Would be silly to see him paired up with anyone other than Spieth, given their track record.


Matt Kuchar

Experience: 4-7-2 (2011, 2013, 2015)


His steady week-to-week play doesn't always translate to strong performance in team competition. Still, he's invaluable when it comes to his experience, sense of humor, and ping pong skills. One of the best match play golfers on TOUR, so we should at least expect a strong Sunday showing this week.


Kevin Chappell

Experience: Rookie


Owns the course record at Liberty National (62 in R3 of the 2013 NORTHERN TRUST) but zero national team experience. As for singles, he made his WGC-Match Play debut this year and went 1-2-0, failing to make it out of group play. Word on the street was that he got hit with the flu bug last week, but he should be back and glowing with confidence this week. 


Charley Hoffman

Experience: Rookie


One of the best drivers on TOUR, making him a valuable asset as a partner. His putter is hit-or-miss on a round-to-round basis, but he will definitely set up plenty of scoring chances. Has a career record of 3-4-0 at the WGC-Match Play including a 1-2-0 record against potential opponents this week. He beat Jason Day (4-and-3) and lost to Branden Grace (2-and-1) in 2015 then returned in 2016 to lose out to Charl Schwartzel (3-and-2).


Phil Mickelson

Experience: 23-16-12 (all 11 editions)


Has played in every edition of this event, so he provides all the experience you could ask for. It's pretty good experience, too, as he has earned 57% of his potential points in 51 matches. In fact, if you take out Mickelson's track record, the Americans on this team actually have a worse record at the Presidents Cup when compared the current International squad.


Total Team Experience at the Presidents Cup:
38-36-16
Singles: 4-12-4
Team Matches: 34-24-12


Next up is the rundown on the International Team...


continue story »
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.
Email :Josh Culp



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