Don’t listen to the haters, the Presidents Cup means a lot

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Three years ago in Australia, Adam Hadwin looked distraught as he left the 18th hole at Royal Melbourne. I had seen a lot of Hadwin over the past decade covering golf, but I hadn’t seen this look. It was as if he had seen a ghost.

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It was Friday at four at the 2019 Presidents Cup and Hadwin and partner Joaquin Niemann had just lost 1-down to Americans Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. A 21-year-old Niemann was putting on a show with his irons all day for the international pair in the alternate shot format, but it wasn’t Hadwin’s day as he missed several putts, including a lip-out on the 17th that would have gave his team a 1 lead. A hole later, Cantlay rolled in a birdie putt to beat them.

After the round, Hadwin told me it was the worst he had ever felt on a golf course, the feeling of letting a teammate down, especially one who plays so well. Hadwin finished this week 1-1-1 with a draw against Bryson DeChambeau in Sunday singles after battling a cold, but the look on his face that day reminds me of what the Presidents Cup means to him.

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This week, after another year off due to the pandemic, the biennial team event lands in North Carolina at Quail Hollow where the Americans are heavy favorites to win their ninth consecutive Cup, and 12th of 14 since the start. of the event in 1994.

With the Presidents Cup hosted by the PGA Tour, there was no chance of LIV golfers taking part in the event, which means both teams will be without significant players, although this affects the international team much more. the thinnest.

International captain Trevor Immelman will be without top Aussie qualifier Cameron Smith, Mexican Abraham Ancer, Chilean Niemann, as well as possible captain picks Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Marc Leishman. The Americans will be without Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, although all four would have needed captain picks, such is the strength of the potent American team.

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With the one-sided nature of the competition over the years and the ever-increasing glitz of the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup has recently become a target of change in US media and social media. Expect to hear ‘ideas’ on your favorite social media this week such as the Presidents Cup should be a mixed event with men and women, despite this suggesting the women’s game isn’t strong enough for its own competitions. Or the more attention-hungry might say it should be LIV Golf vs. the PGA Tour, skipping the part about the event hosted by the PGA Tour being the defendant in a lawsuit filed by LIV Golf.

Don’t buy it.

Yes, the Americans are nearly impossible to beat and go into the week as 7-1 favorites to win, but that’s a reality Europe could also face next year at the Ryder Cup as They’re heading into an era of rebuilding with the golden age of European Ryder Cup stars enjoying pre-fatigue at LIV Golf.

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Yes, it’s a David vs. Goliath battle this week for the Internationals, but it’s a battle they embrace, and as Canadian golfers, the Presidents Cup is the goal. There’s no Hadwin this time around, but for Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith making their debuts for Immelman’s team, there’s a deep meaning to the week that will only grow in the coming days. as they prepare for games with alternate captain Mike Weir.

This is the eighth Presidents Cup in which Weir has participated five as a player, three as an assistant and he told me in Melbourne that was the highlight of his career.

“For me, as I get older, I remember some of my individual achievements, but most of my fond memories are of the Presidents Cup,” said the 2003 Masters champion.

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Weir is widely expected to captain the Internationals in 2024 when the tournament returns to Royal Montreal. Aussie Adam Scott is playing in his tenth international team this week and he has made it clear how important it is for him to be in the squad. South African Oosthuizen played in four teams before leaving for LIV Golf this year.

“There are a lot of worries about missing next week,” Oosthuizen told reporters at the LIV Golf Invitational Chicago. “I think of us who are here – Charl, Brandon, Carlos – they would like to be able to play. It’s a bit of a stinger.

Captain Immelman may not have the team he thought he had when he was named international captain, but don’t be fooled this week into thinking the Presidents Cup lacks meaning.

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“This event is extremely important to us. Everyone should understand that.” Immelman said. “We love this event. We love our team. When we grew up outside of the United States and Europe watching the Ryder Cup, watching the passion, the energy and the great golf of this event, this is our chance to be a part of it. We are grateful to have this opportunity and look forward to it every time.

USA TEAM
Patrick Canlay
Sam Burns
Justin Thomas
Scottie Scheffler
Xander Schauele
Tony Finau
Max Homa*
Billy Horschel*
Kevin Kisner*
Colin Morikawa*
Jordan Spieth*
Cameron Young*

INTERNATIONAL TEAM
Hideki Matsuyama
Sungjae Im
Tom Kim
Corey Conners
Adam Scott
Mito Pereira
Taylor Pendrith*
Sebastien Munoz*
Si Woo Kim*
Cam Davis*
Christiaan Bezuidenhout*
KH Lee*

* captain’s choice

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