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Previewing the Presidents Cup

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Adam Scott and Tiger Woods will lead their respective teams at the Presidents Cup. (USATSI)
Adam Scott and Tiger Woods will lead their respective teams at the Presidents Cup. (USATSI)

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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).

History

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.

Captains

Fred Couples is the captain for the US side. He captained the past two US teams to wins in 2009 and '11. Nick Price is the International Team captain. This is his first apperance as captain and the first time someone not named Greg Norman or Gary Player has been captain of the International Team since 2000.

TV

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.)

Matchups

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.

1. Tiger Woods vs. Adam Scott: Woods is No. 1 in the world right now but I'll take Scott in this matchup. He has had the better season in big events. Edge: International

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. Charl Schwartzel: In 2011 Schwartzel led the International Team in points with 3.5. Stricker, for everything he does well, is not known as a big-tournament golfer. Schwartzel gets this one. Edge: International

4. Matt Kuchar vs. Ernie Els: Els is a craftsman but he went 1-4 in 2011. Kuchar has had probably his best year ever as a pro. Edge: US

5. Brandt Snedeker vs. Louis Oosthuizen: Oosthuizen played for the first time in months last week at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and finished 103rd. Edge: US

6. Jason Dufner vs. Hideki Matsuyama: Can we go ahead and pair these guys up for the singles match? What is that large brown thing protruding from your bottom lip, Jason? Matsuyama was given a treasure chest of talent but Dufner is wily. And I'll take wiliness over talent in this event. Edge: US

7. Zach Johnson vs. Graham DeLaet: I feel like DeLaet was one of the more underappreciated players on Tour all season. He didn't win so he didn't get the attention of a Spieth but he finished seventh in top-10 finishes and eighth in the FedEx Cup. This one's close but I'll give it to the Canadian. Edge: International

8. Keegan Bradley vs. Branden Grace: Bradley has a chance to be the United States' version of Ian Poulter. Just a freak in team events like this. I'm terrified thinking about what he'll do already (or what his caddie will do). Edge: US

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

10. Webb Simpson vs. Angel Cabrera: The tournament isn't at Augusta and isn't a major so I have to give this one to Simpson. 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

12. Bill Haas vs. Brendon de Jonge: De Jonge had four top 10s this season. Haas has had four since June 2. 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.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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