We're off to Korea this week for the 11th staging of the Presidents Cup and The Punter fancies the outsiders to give the Americans a tough match. Read his comprehensive preview here...
“The Internationals look a stronger unit and with Bae and Lee (a New Zealander born in Incheon) sure to rally the home supporters the US team could be up against it.”
Tournament History and Format
With the Ryder Cup going from strength to strength, the Presidents Cup was created to fill a most obvious void, giving players from outside of Europe the chance to experience the excitement of competitive team matchplay against the United States. The event was first staged in 1994 and this will be the 11th staging.
The format is similar to the Ryder Cup but the big difference between the two is that they play over four days here rather than three.
There's been a slight change to the format since 2013 with the number of points up for grabs reduced from 34 to 30. The event will begin on Thursday with five foursome matches, followed by five fourballs on Friday. On Saturday, there will be four foursomes in the morning and four fourballs in the afternoon and the match will conclude on Sunday with the 12 singles matches.
Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, Songdo, Incheon City, Korea
Par 72 -7,413 yards
The Jack Nicklaus Golf Club opened in 2010 and it was used for the Songdo Championship on the Champions Tour in 2010 and 2011. For more on the course, see the two clips below. The first one features Jack Nicklaus talking about the design of the course and the second is a hole-by-hole tour.
Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 03:00 on Thursday.
2013 United States (18.5 - 15.5)
2011 United States (19 - 15)
2009 United States (19.5 - 14.5)
2007 United States (19.5 - 14.5)
2005 United States (18.5 - 15.5)
2003 Tie 17-17
2000 United States (21.5 - 10.5)
1998 International Team (20.5 - 11.5)
1996 United States (16.5 - 15.5)
1994 United States (20 - 12)
US Team - captained by Jay Haas
J.B Holmes (replaces the injured Jim Furyk)
Bill Haas (Captain's Pick)
Phil Mickelson (Captain's Pick)
International Team - captained by Nick Price
Steven Bowditch (Captain's Pick)
Sangmoon Bae (Captain's Pick)
Outright Market Selection
Given the International Team have only been successful once in 10 previous renewals, it would be very easy to assume they're in for another beating this time around but I quite fancy them to start eating into the deficit by winning this week in Korea.
Three of the first four Presidents Cups were staged in the States and the 2007 edition was in Canada so the tournament has only been played outside of North America three times previously. It's twice been played in Australia and once in South Africa and that's when the Internationals have fared best.
They won with ease at Royal Melbourne in 1998 (20 ½ - 10 ½) and the event was famously tied at Fancourt five years later (see below). An aging International side, which with the benefit of hindsight, containing the likes of K.J Choi, Robert Allenby, Retief Goosen, K.T Kim and Aaron Baddeley, was always going to be outclassed when beaten 19-15 back at Royal Melbourne four years ago but this International Team looks like a strong one this year and playing in Korea should favour them greatly.
There are just five changes to the side that battled back so valiantly at Muirfield Village two years ago, with Anirban Lahiri, Thongchai Jaidee, Danny Lee, Steven Bowditch and Sangmoon Bae replacing Ernie Els, Graham DeLaet, Angel Cabrera, Brendan de Jonge and Richard Sterne. I think they look a stronger unit and with Bae and Lee (a New Zealander born in Incheon) sure to rally the home supporters the US team could be up against it.
Top US Player
After a long hard campaign and a busy FedEx Cup series, I wonder how much Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler will have left in the locker and I'm more than happy to scan further down the list for a wager in this market.
Although he hasn't been in great form this season, Matt Kuchar is a great match play exponent and I was tempted by him at a perfectly respectable 10/1 with the Sportsbook but at just a point shorter, I'd rather back Patrick Reed. The fiery Texan took to team match play like a duck to water at the Ryder Cup last year and I can see him relishing representing his country in Korea.
Top International Player
Danny Lee was born in Korea and raised there up until the age of eight when he emigrated to New Zealand. At just 18, he became the youngest ever winner of the U.S Amateur and a few months later he became the youngest ever player and only the second amateur to win on the European Tour when he won the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia.
It's taken him a while to find his feet on the PGA Tour but he claimed what I suspect will be the first of numerous titles at the Greenbrier Classic in July before finishing the season in fine style with a tied second at the Tour Championship behind Spieth.
I fancy he'll be inspired greatly by playing in his country of birth and that he might not experience the pressure that Korean national, Sangmoon Bae, will be under. The 12/1 being offered on the Sportsbook is more than fair but I'm not just leaving it at that as I also like 16/1 available about Thongchai Jaidee.
I was impressed by the way Thongchai won the recent European Open from the front on the European Tour and the older he's gets, the better he's played under pressure. Jaidee is a great wind player and on a course that looks exposed and susceptible to blustery conditions, he might just enjoy himself.
International Team (outright) @ 3.412/5
Patrick Reed (Top US Scorer) @ 9/1 (Sportsbook)
Danny Lee (Top International Scorer) 12/1 (Sportsbook)
Thongchai Jaidee (Top International Scorer) 16/1 (Sportsbook)
I'll be back tomorrow with my British Masters preview.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter