It’s been 21 years since the Internationals beat the US in the Presidents Cup and if they don’t turn it around soon, then this competition could well be dead.
Team golf has became very popular over the last decade following the epic battles between the United States and Europe. The atmosphere at these events have been unbelievable, with chanting and load roars, while the standard of golf has also been phenomenal.
The Majors are still the biggest events in golf, and that should never change. But team golf has brought a new dimension, attracting a lot of new fans who normally won’t sit in front of the TV for six hours and watch a normal tournament.
Europe’s epic comeback at Medinah in 2012 will go down as one of the classic encounters in all of sport, while Europe also bounced back from their 2016 defeat by upsetting the star-studded Americans in France two years ago.
But while the Ryder Cup has become a truly awesome event, the Presidents Cup hasn’t quite had the same appeal, mostly because it’s been largely one-way traffic.
In the previous 12 editions of the event since 1994, the Unites States have won 10 of the events, with their last victory a 19-11 drubbing in New Jersey in 2017. The Internationals’ only victory came 21 years ago at Royal Melbourne, when Australian Peter Thompson led them to victory.
The 2003 event ended in a spectacular tie at Fancourt, as the final singles match between Ernie Els and Tiger Woods couldn’t finish because it was too dark.
But since then the Americans have won seven straight Presidents Cups, and they look likely to win for the 11th time after captain Woods assembled another strong team, which also includes himself as a wild-card pick. The Internationals have a good team, but they are outgunned on paper by the galaxy of American stars.
But the Internationals can take a page out of the Europeans’ book when it comes to slaying the giants of the PGA Tour. For the Europeans it was not about the individual, but about the team as a collective.
They bonded better off the field and were inspired by videos of former European teams who won the event against all the odds. They also got their pairings perfect in Paris, while Le Golf National was set up to suit the home side. It was a tight track, which the hard-hitting Americans couldn’t overpower.
Els, a member of the triumphant Internationals team in 1994, has certainly been stirring up the emotions this week with a video featuring the likes of Greg Norman talking about their win 21 years ago. The Big Easy is also the type of guy who will make this week fun to get the players to bond, while Royal Melbourne is also the sort of golf course where precision outweighs power.
But, if we’re honest, this probably won’t help the Internationals. They will still have to play out of their skin to win this one. But, for the sake of the competition, they have to do well to prevent this event from becoming a training week for the Americans ahead of the Ryder Cup the following year.