The numbers don’t lie.
This week’s Presidents Cup, being played at Liberty National in Jersey City, marks the 12th edition of the team competition that began in 1994, and the American side has won nine of them while losing just once and tying one.
The 9-1-1 record the U.S. owns on the Internationals represents an emergency of sorts for this biennial event, which is in danger of falling onto life support in terms of fan interest.
If you’re playing fetch with your dog and you never let the dog get the ball or the stick, eventually the dog loses interest. This is the potential plight the Presidents Cup finds itself in with another U.S. victory this week.
“We’re tired of losing,’’ International team captain Nick Price said.
“Sooner or later if we keep losing, you guys [the media] will get sick of it,’’ Jason Day said. “We need to step up and play well and win. It’s important for us.’’
Adam Scott, who’s playing in his eighth Presidents Cup and has never tasted the nectar of victory, going 0-6-1, called this week “very important in the big picture’’ of the event.
“Most people are writing us off already,’’ Day said. “They think that the Americans are always going to win, which takes a lot of pressure for us. If we’re looking at it that way, there’s no pressure on us. On paper, we are not the best team. The Americans are.’’
The odds for the International side breaking the Americans’ six-win streak are long. The U.S. team is not only loaded, but it’s filled with players who’ve been in great form this year while the International’s top players — Scott, Day and Hideki Matsuyama — have struggled.
The U.S. team roster boasts three of this year’s four major championship winners — Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas; the Internationals have none. Eleven of the 12 players on the U.S. side were among the top-30 that played in the Tour Championship to decide the FedExCup last week, which was won by Thomas.
The average world ranking of the 12 U.S. players is 15.7, while it is 32.7 for the Internationals. The lowest-ranked player on the U.S. team is Phil Mickelson, who’s ranked 30th. Conversely, the International team’s two captain’s picks, Emiliano Grillo and Anirban Lahiri, are ranked No. 60 and No. 68, respectively.
The U.S. is 6-0 on home soil and its average margin of victory is by 5.2 points. In the 30 sessions that have been played in the U.S., the Americans have won 24 of them. The U.S. has led after each of the last 26 sessions, the last lead the Internationals had after a session coming in 2005.
You get the picture: This figures to be a daunting task for the visitors.
“I think that overall we’ve had deeper teams, 1 to 12,” Tiger Woods, who’s serving as an assistant captain this year, told the Golf Channel.
Asked if he believes it’s important for the big picture of the event that the International team wins on occasion, Mickelson smiled Tuesday and said, “I don’t think so, no.’’
“We’re not there yet,’’ said Mickelson, who’s competing in his record 23rd consecutive team event (including Ryder Cups). “We know once the door opens how good the players are on the International team that could lead to more losses. If we open the door and give them an opportunity, it will bite us.’’
Mickelson did acknowledge that a win by the International team “might increase the interest, but that’s not what we want as a team.’’
The International team’s plight is similar to what the U.S. was facing in the Ryder Cup last year. The Americans had not won the Ryder Cup since 2008 and had two victories in the previous 10 before beating the Europeans in 2016 at Hazeltine.
That U.S. victory has put a new jolt of energy into the Ryder Cup, which is healthier than ever.
“It’s more jacked up because we finally won one,’’ U.S. Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker said.
Still, Stricker’s only interest this week is not becoming only the second losing captain in U.S. Presidents Cup history as he tries to deal Price his third loss as a captain.
“My message to my players is that I don’t really care what’s happened the last 11 Cups,’’ Stricker said. “We’re here for what’s going on this week and take care of business this week and not worry about that. They have got a job to do and they know that.’’
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