Josh Culp

Culp's Corner

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Presidents Cup Preview

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Prediction Time


Now we've broken down both sides so let me gather my thoughts and then I'll pick a winner. Here is what I've gathered so far...


--> Neither team is all that impressive when it comes to their record at this event (current roster only). The International roster has won just 45 percent of their possible Presidents Cup points while the United States side has won 51 percent of possible points. However, that number drops to just 44 percent if you remove the Captain's pick, Phil Mickelson, from the equation. Obviously, Mickelson is not removed from the equation, but it goes to show how close these teams are, in terms of success at this event.


--> From a pure talent standpoint, the Americans grade out anywhere from 0.25-to-1 stroke better (per round) when it comes to average performance in stroke-play events. The wide gap is dependent on how you weight performance in terms of recent form versus long-term and also how you weight performance on each circuit. Branden Grace on the European Tour, for example, grades out as ELITE. But his performance on the PGA TOUR has just been above average. That could be due to a wide array of factors (course types, grass types, travel, comfort, etc.) but anyway you slice it, the United States squad is better (at stroke play). The counter-argument is that stroke-play results do not always translate to match play. Sometimes the long-term skill for stroke play is being able to avoid (or bounce back) from big numbers. In match play, it's much easier to be aggressive and not have to worry about those big numbers. That evens the playing field, just a bit.


--> Looking at the last 8 weeks of worldwide play, the Americans have gained nearly 350 strokes more than the Internationals, when adjusted to the strength of competition. By that, I mean the sum of each golfer's strokes gained over the field in all events over the past two months. The United States side has played an average of 24 rounds over the last eight weeks, while the Internationals have averaged just under 19 rounds a piece. If you are making a case for the Americans then it's easy to just assume that form keeps rolling, despite the format switch. If you are trying to build a narrative for the Internationals, then you might say they are "well-rested" and less distracted by the FedExCup Playoffs.


--> We also know that International team has won just once in 11 tries at this event. Again, there are two ways to look at this. First, you could say that the Internationals are just outmatched time-after-time and this year will be no different. On the flip side, you could suggest that the Americans will be a bit overconfident based on that track record while the Internationals will be giving this their full attention. After all, if the Internationals don't win again soon, will they even keep this competition going?


We've established that Team USA is a stronger team, from top to bottom, but the talent gap is reduced in match play. We know that Team USA dominates this event (9-1-1) but that will also make the International squad very hungry. After reviewing the facts of this case, I've come to the conclusion that the 2017 Presidents Cup will be determined in the final two singles matches. In the end, I think the home-course advantage will prevail as Lady Liberty watches the United States win 15.5 to 14.5, just like the 2015 edition.

 



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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