Two dozen of the world’s best golfers have arrived in Melbourne for the Presidents Cup starting at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Thursday. Here’s what you need to know about the Cup, the teams, the course and how to catch the action.
The Presidents Cup is a biennial match between the United States and the rest of the world, excluding Europe. Each team consists of 12 players – eight automatic selections based on rankings, while both captains get four picks to fill the remaining spots on the team.
All matches are worth one point each, for a total of 30 points. There are no playoffs, with each side receiving a half point if a match is tied after 18 holes. In a change inspired by the events of the 2003 Presidents Cup in South Africa, if the competition is deadlocked at the end of the Sunday singles play, the match will be deemed a tie and the teams will share the Cup.
The players do not receive prizemoney but the PGA Tour pledges to contribute to the charities nominated by players, captains and captain’s assistants. $10.7 million was distributed in 2017.
The Presidents Cup trophy weighs 12.7 kilos and was created by Tiffany & Co. To make the trophy, five sterling silver circles were spun into separate shapes, which were then assembled by a silversmith. The entire trophy is vermeil in 24-carat gold and took more than 80 hours to create.
The US team has won the trophy 10 times since 1994, while the Internationals’ only win came at Royal Melbourne in 1998 and there was a tie in 2003.
The West Course was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie, while the East Course is the creation of his Australian deisgn partner, Alex Russell. In recent years, the Royal Melbourne club has commissioned Tom Doak to oversee changes, primarily to the East Course.
The Composite Course being used for the Presidents Cup incorporates 12 holes from the West and six holes from the East and is a par-71 measuring 6,442 metres (7,047 yards) from the tips.
There are 110 bunkers on the course as well as 20 hectares of Common coach grass fairways. The putting surfaces are Suttons Mix bentgrass and will be cut to 2.2mm for the event.
Thursday: Five four-ball matches. Tee times from 9.30am.
Friday: Five foursomes matches. Tee times from 9.30am.
Saturday: Four four-ball matches, tee times from 7am. Four foursomes matches, tee times from midday.
Sunday: 12 singles matches. Tee times from 10am.
WATCHING THE CUP AT THE COURSE
Royal Melbourne’s Composite Course is an expansive layout but there are some terrific spots available to check out the action.
Here are some of the best viewing locations:
- For a player or fan, there’s nothing like being on the 1st tee at a Presidents Cup to witness the day’s matches get under way. At Royal Melbourne, the ‘L’-shape grandstands will boast 1,480 seats looking down the 1st fairway and allow for joint viewing of the 18th green.
- There are three grandstands behind the green of the short par-3 5th, where there are guaranteed to be plenty of great, and not so great shots.
- The lone grandstand behind the green on the par-5 2nd hole will offer views of approach shots on 2 as well as tee shots on the par-3 3rd hole.
If you are venturing to the course, be mindful there are restrictions as what you can bring through the gate. These include: No bags larger than a small purse (15.24cm X 15.24cm) including backpacks and camera bags, no clear plastic bags larger than 30cm, no plastic, metal or glass cups as well as cans.
You can bring food in a resealable plastic bag not exceeding 27cm X 26cm, mobile phones on silent mode, umbrellas without a sleeve, collapsible chairs without chair bags, binoculars not in a case.
WATCHING THE CUP AT HOME
The Nine Network will be broadcasting all the action live over four days at the following times:
Thursday: 9.30am to 4pm
Friday: 11am to 4pm
Saturday: 7am to 6pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm.