We’re about a month out from the 2019 Presidents Cup — let the official countdown begin. While speculation of who captains Tiger Woods and Ernie Els would pick for their respective teams for the biennial event — each allowed to choose four players instead of just two for the first time in history — the excitement doesn’t really start until the rosters are set.
That time is now.
Ernie Els revealed his captain’s picks Dec. 6, giving the nod to Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, and Joaquín Niemann. Els’ picks join Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Marc Leishman, Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, Cameron Smith, and C.T. Pan to round out the International team, with assistant captains K.J. Choi, Trevor Immelman, Geoff Ogilvy, and Mike Weir.
That’s the team looking to right the ship against the U.S. after 2017 International captain Nick Price and Co. suffered nothing short of a brutal ass beating at Liberty National just two years ago, the Americans’ 10th victory in 12 events. If you don’t remember what exactly happened in 2017, you’re forgiven: the beating was so thorough it made the final rounds on Sunday all but unwatchable, with the U.S. entering the day with a 14.5 to 3.5 lead. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for pseudo-spoiler wins by Anirban Lahiri and Si Woo Kim on Saturday, the Americans could’ve closed the Internationals out before the Sunday singles rounds even began.
Embarrassing for sure, but that was two years ago. There’s no way the Internationals will let that happen again, right?
Well… here’s the thing: 2019’s version of Team USA is really, really good.
Captained by BDE himself (Tiger Woods) the American team is arguably more stacked than ever. The GOAT’s tapped Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Patrick Reed, and (as well all had hoped) third-person Tiger Woods to join Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Patrick Cantaly to keep the Internationals in their place. Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, and Steve Stricker round out the American envoy as Woods’ assistant captains.
Skipping the in-depth analysis and laborious breakdowns you can find elsewhere, the Americans laying it on the Internationals once again at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Golf Club is pretty much a guarantee. First, the U.S. has won seven straight against the International team. And with the exception of Kuchar, every player on the American roster is ranked higher than any player on the International team (Scott and Matsuyama are both raked above Kuchar). Els is fielding eight rookies and the youngest team in Presidents Cup history against the American veterans, three of whom — Koepka, Woodland and Woods — won majors in 2019, and all of whom are ranked top 25 in the world. And last but certainly not least, the Americans have the greatest player of all time turning in a card: TIGER FUCKING WOODS, looking to cap off a tremendous comeback season.
In short, USA by a million.
2019 Presidents Cup coverage begins Thursday, December 12, with the fourball opening round followed by the foursome matches on Friday. Saturday brings a full slate with the second round of fourball and foursomes, and closing on Sunday with the singles matches. Tune into the Golf Channel for live coverage Thursday through Sunday, and NBC for a replay of Sunday.