Muirfield Village is one of Jack Nicklaus's courses. It's one of Tiger Woods' favorite courses. Jack may have built it, but Tiger now owns it.
The Memorial Tournament is held here and five times, including this year, Tiger has won it. It's one of those courses that suits his eye and his power fade game just like Torrey Pines and Bay Hill.
And now Muirfield Village is hosting the President's Cup, which begins this Thursday. That bodes well for Team USA and the world's top ranked player. Not that expectations are any different than they would be anywhere else.
Why? Because unlike the Ryder Cup, the USA has dominated the International Team over the years, losing only once in 1998 in Melbourne, Australia.
It doesn't look like it will be any different this year. The International team consists of 7 rookies out of the 12 team members, while Team USA has only four first time competitors.
A casual review of the lineups would give any golf aficionado cause to think this could be a one sided affair. Team USA is captained by Fred Couples for the third consecutive time. Couples has PGA Tour Player of the Year Woods, Mickelson, Snedeker, Bradley, Stricker, Kuchar, Haas, Mahan, Simpson, Zach Johnson, Dufner, and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Jordan Spieth. When comparing current world rankings, the Americans do appear to have an edge.
However, looks can be deceiving.
The Internationals, led by Captain Nick Price, do have World number two ranked Adam Scott, four time Major winner Ernie Els, two time Major winner Angel Cabrera, and former Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. The rest of the squad are all rookies. Those rookies do include two time Masters runner up Jason Day and also Graham Delaet, who finished in the top 10 in the FedEx Cup race this year. Delaet has turned into one of the game's best ball strikers, and has played great down the stretch with top five finishes at both The Barclay's and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Oosthuizen has had been out with a back injury since The Open Championship but did play this past weekend at Alfred Dunhill at the Old Course at St. Andrews. He played well after an opening round 74 and seems to be ready to give it his best here.
So, even though Tiger seems to own this great venue, and despite the advantage in world rankings in a squad comparison, can the Internationals duplicate the upset the Europeans inflicted on the Americans in last year's Ryder Cup? It is not inconceivable because so many times in Cup play, things don't always play out exactly as predicted.
After all, who really thought the Europeans would rally from four full points down last year during singles matches and win the Ryder Cup for the second straight time? The Europeans long ago shed any ounce of intimidation they felt in Ryder Cup play. We'll know this week if the Internationals can learn from their brothers from Europe.
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- Tiger Woods Wins PGA Tour Player of the Year; Jordan Spieth is Rookie of the Year
- More President’s Cup Talk: Injuries and Nick Price’s Captain’s Picks
- Team Europe is Running Away with the 2013 Solheim Cup
- Crimson Tide Trio of Wyatt, Thomas, & Whitsett Lead Team USA to Walker Cup Win
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