The 13th edition of the Presidents Cup matches will get underway from Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Thursday morning. Can the International Team break its winning drought? Or will the United States continue its dominance of the 25-year-old event?
DEFENDING CHAMPION: The United States defeated the International Team 19-11 at Liberty National Golf Club in 2017.
COURSE: Designed by Dr. Alister McKenzie (West Course) and Alex Russell (East Course), the Composite Course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club was established for the World Cup of Golf in 1959 and combines holes from both 18-hole layouts.
Twelve holes from the West Course (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 17 & 18) and six holes from the East Course (1, 2, 3, 16, 17 & 18) combine to form the 6,442-metre par-71 tournament course.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
You would imagine all eyes will be on two of the Americans this week: Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed.
Woods will become just the second playing captain in the history of the Presidents Cup (Hale Irwin played alongside his US side in the inaugural matches in 1994) and found form at his event in The Bahamas last week, finishing fourth. The 15-time major champ has an impressive 24-15-1 (W-L-H) in eight Presidents Cup appearances and knows the Composite Course at Royal Melbourne well.
Reed, meanwhile, will likely cop plenty of stick from hostile home crowds after his efforts in that waste area at the Hero World Challenge last week. It will be interesting to see how many times he features in lead up to Sunday’s singles, where he has earnt the name ‘Captain America’.
Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen are probably the two to watch from an Internationals perspective. Both will have to perform well if Ernie Els’ side is to hoist the Cup for the first time since 1998.
Scott will make his ninth Cup appearance and become the most capped played in International Team history. The Queenslander has an admirable 14-20-5 record when you consider the one-sided nature of the matches.
South African Oosthuizen comes to Melbourne in red-hot form after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open in Sydney last week. The 37-year-old has gone 7-5-3 from three previous Cup appearances.
BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: The United States defeated the International Team by 11 points (21.5-10.5) at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia in 2000.
RECENT MATCHES: The United States defeated the International Team by eight points (19-11) at Liberty National in 2017; The US defeated the Internationals by one point (15.5-14.5) at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in 2015; The US defeated the Internationals by three points (18.5-15.5) at Muirfield Village in 2013.
Round 1: Thursday (Channel 9 LIVE 9:30am – 4:30pm)
Round 2: Friday (Channel 9 LIVE 11am – 4pm)
Round 3: Saturday (Channel 9 LIVE 10am – 6pm)
Round 4: Sunday (Channel 9 LIVE 10am – 4:30pm)
*AEDT, check local guides