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PGA Tour Confidential: The secret to U.S. Presidents Cup success, Man of the Match awards, and NBC's tape-delay blues

Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples
Kohjiro Kinno/SI
Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples during foursome matches at the 2013 Presidents Cup.

Every Sunday night, conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Why do the Americans play better in the Presidents Cup than they do in the Ryder Cup -- or is it just that the international team isn’t as good?

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: The Americans do play better in the Presidents Cup, because it means less to them. They get out of their own way. It's the same reason Davis Love won five times at Hilton Head -- the week after the Masters.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): The Americans play like they have nothing to lose. They feel like they have nothing to lose. At the Ryder Cup, they feel the weight of history bearing down on their shoulders like a burden.

Mike Walker, senior editor, (@michaelwalkerjr): Some combination of format and pressure. Last week, Tiger Woods said that the Presidents Cup forces more players to play more often, which favors the deeper U.S. team. That’s true, but no question, the U.S. team plays much tighter at the Ryder Cup.

Joe Passov, senior editor, courses and travel, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): The International team isn't that good -- or that unified. Much less pressure on the U.S., and their play and results reflect that.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated (@MarkGodich): It's pretty simple. The Presidents Cup feels more like an exhibition. And as long as the Ryder Cup stays as contentious as it has been over the past two couple of decades, the Presidents Cup will always feel that way.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, (@Jeff_Ritter): The U.S. plays better here because they're loose. And other than a couple all-South African pairings, the Internationals don't know each other like their European counterparts. The Internationals are a group of talented players that come together for one week every two years. Thanks to the Ryder Cup, there's a U.S. team every year. That creates unity, and a real sense of team.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Both. The International team isn't as strong and the Americans play loose and free -- you know, the way they always say they are going to play in the Ryder Cup but often don't.

2. Which player wins Man of the Match? Explain/Defend. 

PASSOV: Tiger Woods is the man. When he's playing well, and winning, everybody else relaxes.

SENS: Tiger Woods, and not just because of his heroic 1-up victory over the larger-than-life Richard Sterne in singles. He won the most points, several of his victories were routs, and his only loss was a narrow one to a red-hot Els/De Jonge team. Bonus points for the fact that he smiled and seemed like an engaged teammate. And for that 5-wood on the 15th on Saturday -- a kind of put-a-fork-in-it, it's-done moment against the International's best pairing.

VAN SICKLE: You really couldn't single out one player for MVP. It was a team thing on both sides. Tiger Woods hit an awful lot of good shots and maybe played the most consistently of anyone on the U.S. team. Stricker was right there, too. It has to be one of them.

RITTER: When the No. 1 player in the world is on his game, everyone else feeds off it. Tiger is the MVP, and Phil is a close second.

WALKER: Sammy the Squirrel, the Fresh Prince handshake, the clinching point: How can it be anyone but Tiger?

BAMBERGER: Kuchar. He did everything a teammate can do to get his playing partner, Tiger Woods, feeling comfortable. The genius of what he did may be summarized in a sentence: he didn't treat Tiger like some kind of special case. He treated him the way he likes to be treated, as one of the boys.

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