Presidents Cup math: Addition by subtraction

By Rex HoggardMay 17, 2017, 7:19 pm

It was the last question Nick Price was asked, which seemed apropos if not perfectly planned.

In April Price was named the International Presidents Cup team captain for the third time. As he and U.S. captain Steve Stricker were wrapping up a one-year-out news conference last October the conversation predictably turned to the Zimbabwean’s ongoing debate with the PGA Tour to reduce the total number of points in the biennial matches from 30 to 28, which is the same number used for the Ryder Cup.

“Last year [2015], I think it was very, very close. If it continues to be close, we may not need to change, but I honestly believe down the road, we'll probably change it to 28,” Price figured.

Prior to the ’15 matches, which the International team lost by a single point, Price & Co. had persuaded then-Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to reduce the number of available points from 34 to 30, a compromise that – at least from a competitive point of view – seemed to inject new life into the matches.

After fighting for so long to reach that 28-point threshold, which seems to work so well at the Ryder Cup, Price likely based his theory on an eventual shift to fewer points on the fact that Finchem stepped down this year and was replaced by Jay Monahan, who by most accounts is more of a consensus builder than his predecessor.

Asked about the possibility of reducing the number of matches last week at The Players, Monahan certainly didn’t seem opposed to the idea.

“We will look at everything. What happened in Korea put the Presidents Cup in a great spot,” said Monahan, who added that he studies the International team’s standings every Monday morning. “I think [Price] had it right and we all got it right in Korea and that’s an example of talking, discussing, collaborating. That will continue to be a part of everything that we do.”

The ’15 matches were close and compelling, at least for those on the right side of the international dateline, with the cup decided by the final singles match on Sunday when Bill Haas defeated South Korea’s Sangmoon Bae.


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For his part, Adam Scott – the undisputed leader of the International team, having played in the last seven matches – said he’s comfortable with the current point structure, but that doesn’t mean he likes it.

Scott doesn’t necessarily want to win a Presidents Cup - that’s happened just once (1998) since the matches began in 1994 - but like Price he has a passionate desire to assure it’s competitive.

“It was getting to that point of frustration - what are we doing this for? This is not enjoyable. I’ve heard it’s a cycle of strong and weak teams, but this is a long time now,” Scott said. “The decision was up to the Tour and they did what they thought was best and we have to accept it now. But certainly we need to see a competitive match and that was my argument, why wouldn’t you assure yourself a competitive event.”

For Scott and the other members of the International team it’s really a question of diminishing returns and a wildly lopsided event that was becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy.

In 2013 the U.S. team won by three points, four in ’11 and five in ’09. You get the idea.

Scott is one of the game’s most thoughtful and reasonable voices, and he understands better than most that changes to the Presidents Cup format can’t be made in a bubble.

“We can’t just have it our way; there’s another 12 guys on the U.S. team who may not want it different. I’m not saying we’re right and they are wrong, because they play the Ryder Cup as well, but a lot is made of Ryder Cup heroes, whether it’s Patrick Reed who plays amazing or Ian Poulter,” Scott said. “Yet no one on our teams is thought about as a match player. It’s a bit overlooked because the Ryder Cup is such a big deal.”

To Scott’s point, Branden Grace went 5-0-0 at the ’15 matches paired with Louis Oosthuizen, a week that included four-ball victories over Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson and J.B. Holmes. Yet no one compares his record to the likes of Reed and Poulter.

Would an International victory in October change that narrative? Maybe not, but it’s certainly not going to diminish his stature if he were to blaze a winning trail for the rest of the world.

In sports, you are what your record says you are, and the Internationals have largely been the Washington Generals to the U.S. side’s Harlem Globetrotters. But if that could change with some simple math and two fewer matches, which the ’15 outcome suggests could, wouldn’t that be best for everyone involved?

“It’s all long-term stuff, it’s not about whether I ever win a Presidents Cup, we’re looking at it from a longevity point of view,” Scott said. “But the last few [matches] for me, guys are just going through the motions and that’s a shame.”

The Tour will likely wait to see how competitive this year’s matches are before any potential changes, but given the likelihood of a more competitive event and a more amenable man in the commissioner’s office Price’s optimism is understandable.

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.