The Presidents Cup is, in a lot of ways, the Billy Ripken of team golf events. It has been lost alongside the Ryder Cup over the years, partly because the Ryder Cup is so great but also partly because the Presidents Cup hasn't always lived up the billing.
Some fans are still unsure of what, exactly, the Presidents Cup is. Let's take a tour real quick and I'll give you some brief history of the event and what we can expect from this year's version.
What is it?
The Presidents Cup is basically the Ryder Cup without Europe. Every continent besides Europe is eligible to send golfers to represent the International Team to compete against the US team.
Where is it?
This year it is at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, where the Memorial is played every year.
What is the format?
Again, similar to the Ryder Cup but with some slight modifications. Thursday is alternate shot, Friday is best ball, Saturday is both, and Sunday is singles. All 12 players for each team play on Thursday and Friday (not the case at the Ryder Cup) and only two sit out each session on Saturday.
Everybody plays on Sunday.
How many points are needed to win?
A minimum of 17½ points are needed to win the Presidents Cup. If the teams are tied at the end of singles play on Sunday, they share the Cup (which sounds like the most atrocious outcome ever).
The US has only lost one time -- in 1998. The Americans have won seven other times and the two sides tied once (in 2003). In the last Presidents Cup in 2011, the US won 19-15 in Melbourne, Australia.
All times eastern
Thursday: Golf Channel (12-6 p.m.)
Friday: Golf Channel (1-6 p.m.)
Saturday: NBC (8 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Sunday: NBC (12-6 p.m.)
There will be some pretty great matchups this year on both sides. The International Team is loaded at the top but weaker at the bottom so let's take a look at each side's order (by world ranking) and see who has an overall advantage.
2. Phil Mickelson vs. Jason Day: Lefty has too much experience. Day is an elite player but he didn't perform well in 2011. Mickelson will have all kinds of stuff in his bag of tricks this week and I don't think Day can hang. Edge: US
3. Steve Stricker vs.
6. Jason Dufner vs.
7. Zach Johnson vs.
8. Keegan Bradley vs.
9. Jordan Spieth vs. Richard Sterne: This is where it starts to get dicey for the International Team. Sterne is a fine player who won on the European Tour earlier this season but he's not in Spieth's league. Edge: US
11. Hunter Mahan vs. Marc Leishman: When you're rolling out a guy who could have won both the US Open and British Open as your 11th-best player, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's a good thing. Edge: US
So as you can see, the top is pretty even. Day, Scott and Schwartzel can roll with anybody in the world. But the US has a real advantage near the bottom of the rosters. That means guys who haven't been there before (like Spieth) will have to play well, though.
The US should win (again) but this has been a crazy year already and I'm not sure anything would surprise me at this event.