The new President Cup format has one of its staunchest supporters even more excited than normal.
Queenslander Adam Scott, the undoubted spiritual leader of the past two International teams that lost at Royal Melbourne and in Ohio, says he’s thrilled with the change that reduces the points that have traditionally been on offer.
For the first time since the event’s inception in 1994, two players on each team will sit out in both foursomes and fourball matches on Thursday and Friday, then four in each format on Saturday, meaning 30 instead of 34 points will be on offer through the week.
With the long-standing problem of the International team being its depth to compete against the Americans, the International squad, led by captain Nick Price, has been rallying hard to alter the format and align it with the Ryder Cup.
And while the request has partly been acknowledged by Presidents Cup rule-makers, it’s still two more points than on offer at the Ryder Cup, which has only four fourball and foursomes matches on the opening two rounds.
Price, and some of his senior players including South African Louis Oosthuizen, have been vocal in saying it should have gone further, even suggesting the success of the competition ultimately lies with its competitiveness this time around.
But Scott, who has twice been the team’s highest-ranked player in his seven previous Cup appearances, is excited about the change.
“A lot went into the points change this year,” Scott said.
“Now I feel I’m more invested than ever in this event.
“The last couple of years I’ve gotten into it even more because I believe it can be such a huge important event in the scheme of things for golf.
“And after looking at the success of the Ryder Cup, if this were to really to take off like the Ryder Cup has, the reach this has being International and covering the rest of the world could be massive for the game of golf.”
Oosthuizen wasn’t as glowing about the reach of the changes, even if he felt they were heading in the right direction.
“IIf we had it our way we’d have had it at 28 points,” the former Open Championship winner said.
“We want it the same competition as the Ryder Cup and we’ve got to start that by changing the points to be the same, then you can compare the two.
“But I think it’s going to be an exciting week.”
Much will historically depend on the outcome of the opening foursomes matches today.
The Americans, with an 8-1-1 overall record, have won every Presidents Cup when they led after the opening day when foursomes were contested.
The most recent three times foursomes has opened the Cup have been dominated by the Americans – 5.5-0.5 in 2007, 3.5-2.5 in 2009 and 4-2 in 2011.
Only five points are on offer today with the following matches slated:
Match 1: Scott/Matsuyama vs. Watson/Holmes
Match 2: Oosthuizen/Grace vs. Kuchar/Reed
Match 3: Lahiri/Jaidee vs. Fowler/Walker
Match 4: Day/Bowditch vs. Mickelson/Z. Johnson
Match 5: Lee/Leishman vs. Spieth/D. Johnson
Sangmoon Bae and Charl Schwartzel are sitting out for Price’s team, while Jay Haas has sat his son Bill Haas and Chris Kirk on day one.