Another hectic weekend in the golfing world tees off today, with both the Presidents Cup & British Masters taking place. Even with the PGA Tour wrapping up last weekend at the Tour Championship, these events allow for another competitive weekend of golf. After Dunhill next week, players will earn a much needed rest ahead of the 2018 season. After the past few weekends of golf, these events haven’t exactly been in the public eye. The FedEx Cup went down to the wire with Spieth and Thomas battling it out. The season long event really gave fans something to look forward to after the final major of the year had been wrapped up.
The Presidents Cup
The prestige of this even has certainly lessened in recent years, due to the dominance of the American team. They have managed to string together 9 out of the last 11 competitions, with one of them being a draw. Comparisons are always being drawn between itself and the Ryder Cup which restricts the events stature considerably. The Ryder Cup is the benchmark for all other team competitions, with each edition bigger than the last. Even the majority of those competing in this years Presidents Cup will concede that the event is a victim of association and unrealistic expectations that the Ryder Cup creates.
Looking on to the foursomes scheduled to tee off today, one could be forgiven to think another American win is on the cards. Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas match up against Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel in the first pairing. Justin Thomas of course, favorite for PGA Tour player of the year after securing the FedEx Cup last weekend. The second pairing has Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas vs Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. Vegas is a rookie, alongside Scott who didn’t make the second playoff event this year. Match 3 then sees Spieth and Reed paired together again, against rookies Si Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo. U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka will team with Daniel Berger against Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace in the fourth match, and Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner will play Aussies Jason Day and Marc Leishman in the final match of the first day.
The event needs a win for Price and his team in order to keep the competitive aspect to the competition. The Presidents Cup will still be on in 2019, ’21 and ’23 but it does seem that the matches have reached a tipping point.
The British Masters
The British Masters teed off this morning with some high profile names among the field. Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Matt Fitzpatrick are some of the big names listed this weekend. Most notably would be the late entry of Rory McIlroy. Westwood asked McIlroy earlier in the summer if he would play and he left it down to whether or not he made the Tour Championship. Rory also wanted to confirm his eligibility for next years Ryder Cup. “I didn’t really want to put the European Tour in another sticky position. So I thought I’ll play an extra one and not have to make them make the hard decision and have to answer to the membership about why I didn’t play the minimum when I could have and all that sort of stuff.”
McIlroy comes into this weekend the favorite, despite not having a victory to his name in 2017. However, he did make his professional debut at this event back in 2007. Masters winner Sergio Garcia is also one of the favorites heading into the weekend and will be sure to receive a warm welcome. Nobody would begrudge the host of the event, Westwood on a victory this weekend but that all seems unlikely. There has been quite a lot of talk about local connection Graeme Storm who comes in as a big outsider. Storm famously got the better of McIlroy in a playoff earlier in the year. Just coming off the back of a wrist injury, he will be hoping for a strong performance.