Presidents Cup: The United States look too strong but there's value elsewhere, says The Punter

Matt Kuchar, The Punter's idea of value at the Presidents Cup
Matt Kuchar, The Punter's idea of value at the Presidents Cup

Steve can't see past the United States in the second of this week's matchplay tournaments but he thinks he's spotted some value in the side markets. Read his preview here...

“As a former US Amateur champion, it was no surprise to see Matt Kuchar enhance his matchplay record with success at this year's Accenture World Matchplay event and the fact that he won this year's Memorial tournament here at Muirfield, is yet another plus.”


Tournament History and Format 
With the Ryder Cup going from strength to strength, this biennial event was created to fill a most obvious void, giving players from outside of Europe and America the chance to experience the excitement of competitive team matchplay. The event was first staged in 1994 and this will be the 10th time that 12 internationals will duel with a dozen players from the United States for the Presidents Cup.

The format is very similar to the Ryder Cup but there are six more matches in this event. As they do in the Ryder Cup, the two teams do battle over three days with a series of foursome and fourballs, before the event is settled on day four with the 12 singles ties. The only difference between the two events is that all 24 players are involved over the first two days, playing two sets of six matches on each day, opposed to two lots of four in the Ryder Cup. And then on Saturday, there'll be ten matches (two sets of five) as opposed to the eight played in the Ryder Cup.

As a result, 17 ½ points is the total needed to win, compared with the 14 ½ points required to take the Samuel Ryder Trophy.


Venue
Muirfield Village, Dublin Ohio


Course Details
Par 72 -7,366 yards 

Muirfield Village Golf Club is also the venue for the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour. It's named after course designer and owner Jack Nicklaus' favourite Open Championship venue.

When used for the Memorial Tournament, the fairways are fairly generous but the rough is demanding and the greens are tough to find from the long grass, and that's pretty important as it's a tricky place to get up-and-down.

There are 71 bunkers and water comes into play on 11 holes. The greens are undulating and at 13 on the stimpmeter, fairly fast.


TV Coverage
Live on Sky all four days, starting at 4.30pm on Thursday


Previous Results 
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 Fred Couples
Tiger Woods
Brandt Snedeker 
Phil Mickelson
Matt Kuchar 
Jason Dufner
Keegan Bradley
Steve Stricker
Bill Haas
Hunter Mahan
Zach Johnson
Webb Simpson (Captain's Pick)
Jordon Spieth (Captain's Pick)


International Team - captained by Nick Price
Adam Scott
Jason Day
Charl Schwartzel
Ernie Els
Louis Oosthuizen
Hideki Matsuyama
Branden Grace
Graham DeLaet 
Richard Sterne
Angel Cabrera
Marc Leishman (Captain's Pick)
Brendan de Jonge (Captain's Pick


Outright Market 
I'd love to be able to make some sort of case for the International team, given that they're now over 4.03/1 after drifting since the market went up, but it's simply not possible. The United States have home advantage, the far superior team, the much better record and something that has spurred them on to success in this event on numerous occasions of late - a stinging backside following the Ryder Cup.

The Miracle at Medinah was a crushing defeat for the Americans and the Internationals may well kop the backlash once again. The Europeans have won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups and that can't have helped the Internationals in this event.

The United States are bound to be eager to bounce-back after losing a Ryder Cup and it's interesting to note that one of the United States' only two victories in the last 20 years in the Ryder Cup came in 1999, a year after they'd been thumped in the Presidents Cup.

I can't see any reason to oppose the United States and if you like a long odds-on shot, they don't get much better than this but I do have one note of caution, remember the Solheim Cup back in August? The United States were nigh on certainties for that event and yet they got comprehensively thumped 18-10.


Top US Player
Tiger Woods' record at Muirfield is superb, exciting prospect Jordan Spieth is chomping at the bit to get going and Paul Krishnamurty puts up a very sound case for backing both Keegan Bradley and Hunter Mahan but the one I really like is Matt Kuchar.

Kuchar didn't have the best of times two years ago, winning just one tie (when paired with Steve Stricker on day two) and his Ryder Cup record (3-3-2) isn't brilliant but he still has a matchplay pedigree of note.

As a former US Amateur champion, it was no surprise to see him enhance his matchplay record with success at this year's Accenture World Matchplay event and the fact that he won this year's Memorial tournament here at Muirfield, is yet another plus.

The smiling assassin will pitch up at Jack's Place feeling very confident and I fancy he's a fair bet at 10.09/1 in the Top US Market.


Top International Player
There are a number of badly out of form players in the International Team and it didn't take long to whittle this market down to just a few.

Canadian Graham DeLaet is a bigger talent than his price suggests but he's been on the go for a while and this is his debut in the event too, and that could be a negative. I might yet have a small saver on him but the one I like most is Charl Schwartzel.

As Paul Krishnamurty points out here, he's in fine form and he did well enough in the event two years ago and in what looks a weak heat, he's a very fair price at 8.07/1.


Top Combined Scorer
I fancy the United States to win comfortably and it makes sense to assume an American will win this market too so I'm going to play Kuchar again at the inflated price of 15.014/1.


In-Running tip
If you've read my Seve Trophy Preview, you'll know I'm repeating myself but I agree with all Paul Krishnamurty has to say here and especially the part about backing the outsiders in the singles matches.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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