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.
Depending on how you look at it, the new Tour’s been enjoying an exciting start to the calendar year, and it’s about to get even better. Over next 6 months, the golf world will be blessed with major tournament after major tournament (literally), keeping us satiated through August.
Here’s a quick break down of the major schedule in store — plan accordingly:
March — The Players Championship
2018 Winner: Web Simpson Dates: March 14 – 17 Course: TPC Sawgrass, Florida Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
Everyone’s favorite non major major, The Players Championship, celebrates 45 years in 2019. There has yet to be a back-to-back Players Champion; as of this writing Webb Simpson is sitting at 33/1 odds to be the first, according to betting-directory.com.
April — The Masters
2018 Winner: Patrick Reed Dates: April 11 – 14 Course: Agusta National, Georgia Broadcast: CBS | ESPN
The last several Masters Tournaments have been quite dramatic, with Spieth’s now infamous meltdown in 2017 and the tour’s favorite punching bag, Patrick Reed, joining the green jacket club last year. Here’s to another memorable weekend amongst the azaleas.
May — PGA Championship
2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka Dates: May 16 – 19 Course: Bethpage Black Course, New York Broadcast: CBS | TNT
Inevitable storylines sure to surface at the PGA Championship: How will Bethpage play hosting its first PGA Championship (foreshadowing the 2024 Ryder Cup)? Will this be the year Jordan Spieth caps his career Grand Slam? Will Tiger better his second place finish last year? … The list is endless.
June — U.S. Open
2018 Winner: Brooks Koepka Dates: June 13 – 16 Course: Pebble Beach, California Broadcast: FOX | FX1
The U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach for a sixth time, but this year is a little more special; the iconic course is celebrating its 100th birthday. Koepka will look to add to his consecutive U.S. Open titles, but others have proven they can go low when the stakes are high, too — 65s are becoming a norm on the U.S. Open leaderboard.
July — The Open Championship
2018 Winner: Francesco Molinari Dates: 18 – 21 Course: Royal Portrush, Ireland Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
As the oldest, original major championship, it’s hard to find anything new to say about The Open. But 2019 does signify something of a special reconnection as the tournament returns to Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush for the first time in almost 70 years.
August — Tour Championship
2018 Winner: Tiger Woods Dates: August 22 – 25 Course: East Lake, Georgia Broadcast: Golf Channel | NBC
Though also not a major, the Tour Championship is A LOT more important in regards to the FedEx Cup. That’s because players who do not win the Tour Championship will no longer be able to claim the FedEx Cup title. According to a breakdown by CBSSports.com, players will come into the tournament with an assigned score based on their FedEx Cup rankings — the no.1 ranked player will begin at 10-under par, no.2 at 9-under, and so on to the bottom 5, whom will start at even par — setting the stage for a dramatic comeback victory or a total blowout to end the summer swing.
Robin Horvath (left), Martin Borgmeier (center), Jordan Brooks (right), are the top three finishers in the 2018 LDET season (Photo: Long Drivers European Tour)
It was not the way anyone wanted to end the 2018 Long Drive European Tour season. Torrential weekend rains battered Panorámica Golf in Spain. According to the LDET, area roads were blocked with up to 50 centimeters of flood water on the pavements, electrical power was lost, and the grid itself saw spots of standing water and sand deposits. And while some say conditions remained playable, the tour made the difficult decision to pull the plug on the event.
That capped off an amazing year for Germany’s The Beard Borgmeier, having won 3 other events and securing his new title as the 2018 LDET Champion. “What happened this year with Long Drive was a U-turn in my life,” Borgeier says in a post-event address.
But the Beard wasn’t the only LDET player with a standout 2018. The Hungarian Hulk Horvath also notched 3 wins, hit the season’s longest drive (443), and was a mere 400 points short of Borgmeier in final ranking points. “It was an amazing season for me,” he told the crowd. “I’m very happy for everything.”
Though England’s Jordan Brooks didn’t get the chance to strut his stuff in the season finale either, he finishes the season, with one win, 4,500 points, and the no.3 LDET ranking. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence going through the season,” Brooks said. “I feel like I belong amongst the top players.”
“2018 was an amazing season,” Xavier Eusebio, LDET CEO, says. “The tour visited 9 countries, and the competition level has been very high, with a lot of competitors from around Europe, and also US, Canada, South Africa, and more.”
Though the LDET’s 2018 season finale was marred by weather and drama, it shouldn’t take away from the landmark season the tour had. A debut in Russia and a first-of-its-kind Nations Cup event, exceptional players and exciting competition all speak to more good things to come in 2019.
Whales’ Bry Roberts (left) and England’s Jordan Brooks (right) are your LDET Nations Cup champions. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)
Tiger Woods wasn’t the only big winner in the world of Golf this past weekend. Before the Big Cat teed off on Sunday, two big hitters hoisted the Long Drivers European Tour‘s inaugural Nations Cup trophy on Saturday, September 22. Jordan Brooks and Bry Roberts were the last men standing after battling against two-man teams of some of the best players the LDET has to offer in a first-of-its-kind event.
The morning began with the qualifying round to advance to the afternoon finals. Along with Brooks and Roberts, repping England and Whales, respectively, 5 other teams were assembled by players and fellow countrymen: Martin “The Beard” Borgmeier and Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath made for one of two all-German teams, Timo Petrasch and Daniel Kleiner being the second; Dewald Lubbe and Christo Pretorius made up the South African team; Alex Lange and Matthieu Moraschetti represented Germany and France, respectively; and Chris Latta of Scotland and José Quilis of Spain made up the final team.
The qualifying format was pretty straight forward, one set per match with an aggregated distance of the team — the best two teams automatically advanced to the quarterfinals. First up was The Beard/Hulk’s formidable team facing off against the South Africans (Lubbe/Pretorius) in what some would have thought was a lock for the Germans. But Lubbe and Pretorius combined for 696 yards, besting Borgmeier and Horvath’s 669. Soon after, Brooks and Roberts began their day against Latta and Quilis, easily advancing 363 to OB (0 yards). Petrasch and Kleiner also made quick work of Lange and Moraschetti 695 to 561.
Borgmeier and Horvath had a chance for redemption in the 4th match of the qualifiers, failing to hit the grid (0 yards) against Brooks and Roberts’ 361 while still clinging to a quarter final position. And Lubbe and Pretorius got some momentum going in the 6th match against Lang and Moraschetti, taking it 371 to 270.
The quarterfinals format brought individual player scores and aggregated distances (for the third set) into the mix. Borgmeier and Horvath once again found themselves facing Brooks and Roberts, and upped their game accordingly going 357/378/706. But it was too little too late to overcome Brooks and Roberts’ 358/351/709, and the number 1 and 2 ranked LDET players made an early exit from the competition. Petrasch and Kleiner continued their run against Lange and Moraschetti, advancing to the semis 337/365 to 316/OB.
The inaugural LDET Nations Cup competitors and sponsors/volunteers. (Photo via Long Drivers European Tour)
Team Brooks/Roberts seemed to hit the after burners in the opening semifinal round, topping Latta/Quilis 382/364/717 to 340/365/690 for a spot in the finals. Lubbe/Pretorius were up against a hot Petrasch/Kleiner team, but the Germans failed to hit the grid in the quarters (OB/OB) and paved the way for the South African team to advance (350/325).
And so the stage was set for the final round of one of the most anticipated events of the 2018 LDET season. Brooks and Roberts dropped two on the grid in the finals, 316 and 351, while the South Africans’ hot stick, unfortunately, cooled, going OB/346 and claiming the 2nd position on the Nations Cup podium. With the win, Brooks finds himself back in the no.3 spot of the LDET rankings with 4,500 points, trailing Horvath (no.2, 5,300 points) and Borgmeier (no.1, 5,700 points). Roberts is sitting in the no.5 spot with 3,000 points.
After strong showings of their own, Pretorius (no.7) and Latta (no.8) have punched their tickets to next month’s LDET Masters Cup as well, surely making their respective countries proud. Joining Pretorius and Latta at the Masters CUP are the tour’s top six players — Borgmeier, Horvath, Brooks, Lubbe, Roberts, and 2017 LDET champion Matt Nicole. If that’s not reason enough to tune in (Saturday 20th October, at Spain’s Panorámica Golf Resort), this year’s Masters Cup will also mark something of a milestone for the LDET, becoming the 50th event in the tour’s 6-year history. With 1,000 points on the table for the Masters Cup winner, who will claim the title of 2018 LDET Champion is still anyone’s guess.
The Long Drivers European Tour Germany Championship was sure to be one of the must-see events of the season, with top-tier bombers like Martin The Beard Borgmeier, Vincent Palm, Timo Petrasch, and The Hungarian Hulk, Robin Horvath, all hailing from the great country. Borgmeier brought the tour’s #1 ranking with him to Munich’s Münchener Golf Club, which set the stage for an anticipated showdown with Horvath, a close second heading into the weekend.
Horvath made it clear early he was there to compete launching a 395-yard bomb in the qualifiers to secure his spot in the top 16 Sunday afternoon. The first taste of the The Beard vs Hulk matchup came in the first round of the top 16. 6th-ranked Tanguy Marionex (Belgium) and #16 Tyler Dangerfield (England) joined the duo, and marked a 340-yard blast and one OB, respectively. Horvath reached 374 yards and Borgmeier notched 350 in the first round.
The second round of the top 16 brought the foursome together again, with strong showings from Marionex and Dangerfield (368 and 353, respectively). But Horvath was on a mission, going 377 yards to Borgmeier’s OB, and ending our hopes for the marquee matchup in the finals.
For The Hulk to claim his home country title, though, there was a lot more ground to cover, and a lot more balls to hit. Horvath qualified for the semis after defeating #14-ranked Steve Vandebos (Belgium) 375/382 to 355/356. The second match brought #4 Dewald Lubbe (S. Africa) face to face with #12 Chris Latta (Scotland), and ended with Lubbe punching his ticket to semis as well (375/389 to OB/368). Horvath’s fellow German, Timo Petrasch was ousted from the quarters by Paul Woodcock 376/OB/OB to OB/357/348, and Jordan Brooks topped Marionex 382/390 to 362/360 for his spot in the semis.
In the first semifinal, Horvath continued his march with a 365/OB/375 showing, topping Lubbe’s 345/362/366 and ensuring his spot in the final. Jordan Brooks dominated the second semifinal, ousting Woodcock 352/360 to 342/345. Lubbe and Woodcock went to battle for the third place position, with Lubbe’s 361/OB/368 besting Woodcock’s 357/359/360, and the stage was set for the big final.
With the title in sight, the Hulk came out swinging and dropped a 394-yard bomb. Brooks followed with 374- and 387-yard blasts, but Horvath’s 391-yard finisher secured the title in his home country. Not only that, Horvath overtook Borgmeier’s multi-week reign at the top of the LDET rankings. The Hulk now has a slim 200 point lead over The Beard Borgmeier, which means we can anticipate more matchups between the top two German bombers in the foreseeable future.
Next up, the players head to Italy’s Terre Dei Consoli Golf Club for the Italy Championship, the last regular season event before the marquee event of the season, the Nations Cup, and the Masters LDET Cup season finale. Follow LDET online and on social media to keep up with all the action.
The LDET bombers descended on Zala Springs Golf Resort on July 13, a little early for the Hungry Championship, but not for the reason you’d expect. Second-ranked LDET player Robin “The Hungarian Hulk” Horvath welcomed his fellow players to his home country for the inaugural European Putting Championship, organized by the tour.
A stark contrast from the usual high-flying competition, the European Putting Championship saw the best players on Tour navigating the undulations of the Zala Springs practice green. The competition came down to two notable LEDT names, Jordan Brooks (ENG) and Vincent Palm (GER), vying for the trophy, with Brooks walking off the winning putt and claiming the title of the first-ever LDET European Putting Champion.
But the bombers went right back to business the next day during qualifying rounds for the LDET Hungary Championship. Home country hero Robin Horvath gave a glimpse of what was to come with the longest drive during qualifiers, a 398-yard bomb; and top-ranked tour player Martin Borgmeier (GER) upped the ante in the round of 16 with a 408-yard blast.
Neither slowed down in the quarterfinals, with Horvath’s 399 and Borgmeier’s 407 topping the round of 8. Vincent Palm and Dewald Lubbe (S. Africa) advanced to the semis with 388-yard and 392-yard blasts respectively.
Palm, eyeing a spot in the top-10 LDET rankings, faced Borgmeier in the first semifinal, but his OB/355 couldn’t stand up against The Beard’s 398.1/398.9. Fifth-ranked Lubbe found the grid twice against Horvath, going 332.7 and 379.6, but the Hulk held his ground on his home turf with 369.1- and 388-yard bombs to advance to the final against Borgmeier.
The 2018 LDET season is no stranger to the names Borgmeier and Horvath in the final bracket, but a number 1- versus number 2-ranked player is never a disappointing matchup. The match remained square after the first two rounds, with Borgmeier going 382.9 and 390.1 to Horvath’s 383.8 and 388.3. Borgmeier finished his final round with a 352.8-yard blast, but couldn’t overcome Horvath’s 395-yard bomb to claim the title. Lubbe took the third place position on the podium.
Horvath, and the rest of the LDET bombers make their way to Münchener Golf Club in Borgmeier’s home country for the Germany Championship next, July 28th and 29th, promising another staunch competition.