The 13th Presidents Cup begins this week, December 12-15, in Melbourne, Australia as the United States team takes on a collection of stars representing the International team. The competition takes place at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club and is similar to the more famous Ryder Cup, the biennial contest between the US and Europe. Many of today’s best golfers will be taking part, including Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and team captain Tiger Woods. The International team at the Presidents Cup features golfers from outside the US and Europe, and includes Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Sungjae Im and captain Ernie Els.
The tournament began in 1994 and alternates years with the Ryder Cup. Hosting duties bounce between the American courses and courses outside the US and Europe. The tournament offers no prize money, instead giving all profits to charities nominated by players and captains. In the 12 editions played, there has been nothing short of American dominance. In fact, the US team has only failed to win twice: losing in 1998 and tying in 2003. The International team will take some solace in the fact that their sole victory also came at this year’s venue, the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Many storied players have competed at the Presidents Cup, with Phil Mickelson leading the way in matches played with 55, with Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, and Tiger Woods tied for second with 40. The largest margin of victory was the American’s 11 point win in 2000.
The tournament is broken into 3 game types: fourball (also called best ball), foursome (also called alternate shot), and singles matches. The action starts Thursday with 5 fourball matches, with pairings determined by the captains the day before the competition. In this format, teams of two play each other with all players playing the course. At the end of each hole, the best score wins the hole for their team. The team with the most holes won at the end of the round wins the point, with half points awarded for tied games. Then on Friday there will be 5 foursomes matches with pairings again determined by the captains. In this format, teams of two play one ball, alternating each shot with the lowest team score earning the hole. On Saturday, there are 4 fourball and 4 foursomes matches before the tournament ends on Sunday with 12 singles matches to decide which teams takes home the Presidents Cup.
Captain: Tiger Woods (playing)
Captain’s Assistants: Zach Johnson, Fred Couples, Steve Stricker
Captain: Ernie Els (non-playing)
Captain’s Assistants: K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvy, Trevor Immelman, Mike Weir
Marc Leishman (Australia)
Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)
Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa)
Adam Scott (Australia)
Abraham Ancer (Mexico)
HaoTong Li (China)
C.T. Pan (Taiwan)
Cameron Smith (Australia)
Sungjae Im (South Korea)
Byeong Hun An (South Korea)
Adam Hadwin (Canada)
Joaquin Niemann (Chile)
Television coverage in the US is provided by the Golf Channel and NBC. Due to the large time change between Australia and the US, coverage will start Wednesday night, 5:30pm ET-midnight. The second day will be covered Thursday on the Golf Channel 7-pm ET-midnight. Friday coverage will be shown 3pm ET-2am ET on the Golf Channel, with a replay shown Saturday on NBC from 2:30-6pm ET. The final round will be covered live on Saturday 6pm ET-midnight on the Golf Channel with a replay on NBC 1-6pm ET.