USA Goes For Sixth Straight President’s Cup

Stenson Reigns Supreme
Last weekend saw the official close to the Fed Ex Cup season and a worthy champion crowned in Sweden’s Henrik Stenson. Stenson turned on the jets in a big way during the tail end of the season with a third, two seconds, and two wins in his final seven events. All of Stenson’s results came in Majors, WGC, or FedEx Cup Playoff events making it that much more impressive.

Stenson capped off his late season run with a wire-to-wire win at East Lake in The Tour Championship for $1.4 million. By virtue of the fact that he was in the Top 5 going into the Tour Championship, he also secured the FedEx Cup win and a big fat $10 million check as his reward. Kudos Henrik, you played the best when it mattered and are a deserving champ. Now don’t go spend all that money on some fancy record player.

Jack’s Final Hurrah
While Stenson is probably off celebrating on some tropical island no one has ever heard of, the rest of us are gearing up for the 2013 President’s Cup at Muirfield Village in Dublin, OH. Muirfield is home to Jack Nicklaus’ tournament, The Memorial, and was designed by The Golden Bear himself. Jack has been quoted, as saying that being the host for this year’s Cup, “Probably will be my last involvement in anything significant in the game of golf.” This should surprise no one as Jack has strategically lessened his presence over the years in the golf world, opting to play lots of tennis and spend time with his grandkids.

USA Goes For Sixth Straight President’s Cup
That being said, the stacked American squad led by Captain Freddie Couples will desperately want to win this one for Jack, and redeem themselves after a complete meltdown at last year’s Ryder Cup. The talented US group is the heavy favorite to win (Bovada has the American team at -275 for an outright win), with six of the top 10 players in the world and no one outside the top 30.

All eyes will be on 2013 PGA Tour Player of the Year Tiger Woods, who has now won that honor 11 times, and 2013 British Open Champ and World #3 Phil Mickelson to lead the team in points and book their fifth straight win in the event. The US team is made up of the 10 automatic bids and two Captains’ picks, same as the Ryder Cup. Freddie made the obvious choice of picking Webb Simpson, who was 11th on the standings list, but surprised quite a few people with his pick of 20 yr. old Tour rookie Jordan Spieth over Tour veteran Jim Furyk.

Spieth played as well as anyone down the stretch and tied for first in Top 10’s during his first year on Tour, making him a great pick. That being said, it was hard not to feel conflicted after Furyk went out and shot 59 during the second round of the BMW Championship, only the sixth 59 in PGA Tour history.

International Upset?
While the International squad has generally underperformed in the President’s Cup, they do not lack talent. World #2 Adam Scott, who notched his first Major victory this year at The Masters, and made a run at PGA Tour Player of the Year, will lead the team and is the only player in the World Top 10. With Jason Day and Charl Schwartzel as the only other players in the World Top 20, the team will need big performances from veterans Ernie Els and Angel Cabrera if they hope to pull out a victory for Captain Nick Price. The International Team has only won the event once, and tied on one other occasion, but shouldn’t be written off.

America is too expensive, but Tiger is not
Despite their dominating history in the event, Bovada’s line of -275 to win is giving the Americans a lot of credit. Sure, if the American squad plays to its full potential they could easily run away with the thing, but the same could be said about the International team. At +225 I think the price is right for a bet on the International team to win, but save your money to bet players instead.

I won’t say this often, but 9/2 on Tiger Woods as Top American player might be a good bet. Tiger was underwhelming towards the end of the season, but rarely will you get to bet on him these kinds of odds against a field of 11 as opposed to a full tournament field, and he’s the World #1 for a reason. My favorite bet on the American side though has to be Jordan Spieth, who is a steal at 12/1. As I mentioned earlier, Spieth was as consistent as any player in the world this year and ended on a high note with a second place finish at the Tour Championship. Spieth’s worst round of the season came in the third round of the Memorial at Muirfield earlier this year, but he finished strong with a 68 and is playing some of the best golf in the world right now.

On the International side, I like Graham DeLaet at 12/1. DeLaet finished up the Fed Ex Cup season with a 2nd at The Barclays and a 3rd at the Deutsche Bank and has quite a bit of momentum coming into his first President’s Cup appearance. Consistency is sometimes an issue with this Canadian, but when he gets hot he can go as low as anyone on Tour.

Ben Ludlow

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