The U.S. Presidents Cup team has good reason to celebrate—for the 10th time in the 12-year history of the biennial event, the U.S. Team defeated the International Team, 19-11, to retain control of the Cup.
The Presidents Cup, a team match-play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top golfers, 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe – is held every two years, and since 1996 has alternated between United States and international venues. The Presidents Cup was developed to give the world’s best non-European players an opportunity to compete in international team match-play competition and has become one of the most highly anticipated events on golf’s calendar.
The Presidents Cup is also unique in that, unlike many other events, the players do not receive prize money based on performance. Instead, the PGA TOUR pledges to contribute to charities, which are nominated by the players, captains and captains’ assistants from both teams.
The 2017 Presidents Cup—contested at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, September 26 - October 1—offered incredible views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and Ellis Island.
The Manhattan skyline serves as the backdrop to the 18th hole at Liberty National Golf Club (photo courtesy of Ryan Young/PGA TOUR).
The U.S. Team, led by Captain Steve Stricker and Captains’ Assistants Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, and Fred Couples, got off to a very hot start on Thursday and Friday, defeating the International Team 3.5 to 1.5 in Thursday’s Foursomes matches and 4.5 to 0.5 in Friday’s Four-Ball Matches. With a six-point lead heading into the weekend, the U.S. Team continued its strong play on Saturday, winning the morning Foursomes Matches 3.5 to 0.5 and the afternoon Four-Ball Matches 3 to 1, needing only one point during Sunday’s Singles Matches to clinch the Cup.
24-year-old Daniel Berger— one of the six first-timers on the U.S. Team and whose father, Jay, was the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Olympic tennis team—sealed the deal for the Americans, defeating Si Woo Kim 2 and 1 to become the first-ever Presidents Cup “rookie” to clinch the Cup and the youngest player to clinch the Cup for either side.
“When I look back at this week, I just look back at how well everyone played and how well Captain Stricker and all the assistant captains did and putting together the teams that they did out there,” said Berger during the U.S. Team’s press conference after the trophy ceremony. “They were always out watching and cheering each other on, and that was pretty cool to watch.”
Four players on the U.S. Team went undefeated this week, including 2016 Olympian Rickie Fowler:
Dustin Johnson 4-0-1
Rickie Fowler 3-0-1
Phil Mickelson 3-0-1
Kevin Kisner 2-0-2
Fowler, who boasts an overall Presidents Cup record of 4-3-1 (2015, 2017) and has also appeared on three Ryder Cup teams, including a 2-1 performance in 2016, was paired with good friend and reigning 2017 FedExCup Champion Justin Thomas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning’s matches, where the pair went 2-0-1.
“It's nice to have a winning record,” said Fowler. “Haven't really done that yet. Had a great time playing with Justin. Yeah, it's been a great week, and with one of the best backdrops you can have for this event.”
Phil Mickelson, aside from never losing a single match, is also the only player on either the U.S. or International Teams to have competed in all 12 editions of the Presidents Cup. The 2017 Presidents Cup marked his 23rd consecutive team match between the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup dating back to 1994. But the record-breaking for Mickelson did not stop there—thanks to his 3-0-1 record at the 2017 Presidents Cup, Mickelson passed Tiger Woods for both the most wins ever in Presidents Cup, with 26, and the most wins in Foursomes matches, with 12.
“We've always had fun in these events, whether we've won or lost,” said Mickelson. “We always have a great time. We've always come together and really enjoyed each other's friendship and company these weeks, the experiences, the highs, the lows; and those moments bring you closer and those relationships last a career.”
Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of the 2017 Presidents Cup came during the Trophy Presentation before play began on Thursday, September 28. For the first time in history, three former U.S. Presidents and Honorary Chairmen of the Presidents Cup attended the event. President Bill Clinton (Honorary Chairman in 2000); President George W. Bush (Honorary Chairman in 2005); and President Barack Obama (Honorary Chairman in 2011, 2013) attended the ceremonial elements on the No. 1 tee to commemorate the start of the matches.
Phil Mickelson takes a selfie with Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama (photo courtesy of Chris Condon/PGA TOUR).
History was made yet again during the trophy presentation, when—for the first time in Presidents Cup history—a sitting U.S. President presented the trophy to the winning team. President Donald J. Trump arrived on site at Liberty National Golf Club Sunday afternoon to watch the end of the matches and present the Presidents Cup during the official trophy presentation.
The 2017 Presidents Cup not only solidified the U.S. Team’s and its players’ dominant positions in the golf world, but it also put on full display for audiences worldwide the camaraderie, sportsmanship, and national pride that emerge from playing in this prestigious event.
“USA golf, team golf, is in a great spot,” said Captain Steve Stricker. “Looks like they could be around together for a long time.”