Years of lobbying for changes to the Presidents Cup format by International team captain Nick Price may finally make an impact, pending a meeting this week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational between Price and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
A Reuters report indicates that Price and Finchem are set to meet Wednesday in Akron to discuss Price’s ideas for change, rooted in lowering the amount of points up for grabs in the team portion of the competition.
Since the inception of the biennial event in 1994, the United States has won every Presidents Cup except two—the International team won in 1998 at Royal Melbourne GC, and the competition ended in a draw in 2003 at Fancourt Hotel and CC. Price’s intentions are clear: He wants the event to follow the same format as the Ryder Cup, offering less points during the team competition.
“Those 22 points in the team matches make it very easy for one team to get so far ahead that it takes all the excitement out of the Sunday singles,” Price told Reuters. “With the structure of the Presidents Cup as it is right now, you have a chance where it could be 16 points to 6 going into the last-day singles, or 17-5 or 15-7.
“If you want the strongest team to win every time, then make as many points as you want, play everyone every day and then the Americans are probably going to win 90 percent of the time.”
This year’s event at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea (Oct. 8-11), will be Price’s second at the helm of the International team. In 2013 his squad lost to Fred Couple’s U.S. team 18.5-15.5.
The current Presidents Cup format includes six foursomes matches on Thursday, six fourball matches Friday, five foursomes matches Saturday morning, five fourball matches Saturday afternoon and 12 singles matches Sunday. There are a total of 34 points available, compared to 28 at the Ryder Cup, which spans only three days. All 12 players on each team must compete in the Thursday and Friday Presidents Cup matches while two sit out during each Saturday session. At the Ryder Cup, four players per team sit out during each foursomes and fourball session and all 12 players on each team compete in Sunday singles.
As Price said, the 34 points available at the Presidents Cup, “plays into the hands of the stronger team."
“For it to be a wonderful competition, we have to play it like the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is one of the premier sports events…and so often it has come down to just one point and one putt on the Sunday.”