Foursomes Cost Internationals

My interest in the President’s Cup this past weekend waxed and waned with the foursomes.

On Thursday, the US Team won five of six foursomes matches, and I was convinced that the tournament was over. During the Friday fourballs, however, the Internationals staged a comeback and it looked as though they would make a tournament of it. Then came the Saturday foursomes, which the US swept. By Saturday night, it was apparent that only a miracle on Sunday would make it competitive.

For me, Sunday was worth watching only in that Mike Weir was able to defeat Tiger Woods in singles match play. I was quite happy for the Canadian fans, who got to see their national golf hero do well in his “home and native land.” And any time someone steps up to challenge The Tiger, it’s good for golf.

I think it’s interesting that the tournament hinged upon the poor play of the Internationals in foursomes. Foursomes is a format in which a single ball is played by a team of two players. One player tees off, then the other hits the ball. The players alternate on the tees.

There isn’t any obvious reason why the internationals fared so poorly in foursomes. They won both four ball sessions and the singles 7 – 5. Their team was obviously competitive. In fact, I’d argue that on a player-by-player basis, the Internationals were better than the Ryder Cup teams that have so soundly defeated the Americans in recent years.

But the real mystery is why the US President’s Cup teams have fared so much better than the Ryder Cup teams—with essentially the same players.

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