Presidents Cup golf an exhibition, not competition

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DUBLIN, Ohio — The Presidents Cup is more of an exhibition than a competition, even on that rare occasion when the matches are competitive.

United States player Jordan Spieth (center) looks at the Presidents Cup flanked teammates Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan during the single matches at the Presidents Cup golf tournament Sunday.   DARRON CUMMINGS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DARRON CUMMINGS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
United States player Jordan Spieth (center) looks at the Presidents Cup flanked teammates Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan during the single matches at the Presidents Cup golf tournament Sunday.

That only becomes a problem if nothing has changed 20 years from now.

Yes, it was a real exhibition of golf, as it usually is in these formats.

But a competition?

The United States won (again), 18½-15½, an outcome that could be considered close only with a little imagination.

“We all know how close it really was,” Jack Nicklaus said before handing the gold trophy to the American team.

International captain Nick Price wasn’t so sure.

The Americans had a 14-8 lead going into singles and had to win only four of 12 matches. And they did, even if it took longer than expected.

Price was a mixture of frustration and honesty.

“People say it was close. Jack said it was close. You tell me,” Price said. “We were behind the 8-ball today. If we pulled it off, it would have been miraculous. But then there’s the debate. Did they take it easy with a big lead? I don’t know. If you have a real feel for the game ... it would have been so hard for us to win.”

Price was more bothered by a format that he said favors the Americans. There are 34 matches at the Presidents Cup compared with 28 at the Ryder Cup. Everyone plays the first two daysso there is no hiding weaker players.

Price lobbied for change. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem denied his request.

When he was appointed captain of the Ryder Cup, Paul Azinger asked the PGA of America for four captains’ picks instead of two. His wish was granted, and the Americans won back the cup at Valhalla.

To whom does Price appeal?

How can it be looked upon as a competition when the whole affair is orchestrated by one organization?

This is supposed to be the United States against players from every continent except Europe. But it’s governed exclusively by the American-based PGA Tour.

Finchem is and always has been chairman of the International Federation of PGA Tours. Price made it clear he wants to be captain again. “Don’t care where it is,” he said.

Fred Couples, Gary Player and Peter Thomson have been captains three times. It would seem reasonable to bring back Price.

But who decides? Price smiled.

“Tim told me the International Federation makes that choice,” he said.


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