The Day You've Been Waiting For Since Yesterday: The 2013 Presidents Cup Is Here!

Nothing instills disdain for a golf team event like a gargantuan, bombastic and breathtakingly dull opening ceremony. So judging by what Golf Channel showed us from downtown Columbus during their Live From coverage, this one lived up to the tradition once The Harmony Project unleashed a thoroughly cheery rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine" to a reel of past Presidents Cup highlights.

Just as John Lennon would have imagined it.

Commissioner Moonbeam reportedly induced several fainters to lose consciousness when he took the stage sporting a substantial notebook before giving emcee Dan Hicks a masculine-but-meaningless finger point as if to say, I've heard you impersonate me, and I'm about to give you more material. The notebook also suggested a Moonbeam marathon, but after going through all of the past presidents who have supported the Cup with nary a boo--though Golf Channel did cut ridiculously fast to the Obama tape--The Harmony Project capped off a perfectly painful evening by singing a song entirely inappropriate for the setting. (Not that they selected it.)

The Presidents Cup matches--described by Hicks as one of the most anticipated on the calendar (no one laughed!)--have been subject to many declarations of doom should the International team not win or keep things competitive. Or maybe I've just been watching too much of the "Live From" this week.

Either way, let me make a few things clear about this week:

(A) The Internationals could not score a point this year and there will be a 2015 Presidents Cup, and one in 2017 and one in 2019 and...you get the idea.

(B) The golf should be outstanding to watch on a fun, beautifully-conditioned course which NBC will showcase better than CBS does during the Memorial. You'll get to see the front nine and Muirfield playing firmer and faster. (Paul B. Latshaw and crew deserve the credit on the conditioning, which he talked about on Golf Channel this week.)

(C) You will need to turn down the volume during the annoying attempts to make the Presidents Cup something more than it is: a nice exhibition.

(D) Fred Couples will give interviews and you'll have no idea what he's just said.

There is an intriguing element to the opening day Thursday, besides the Presidents Cup's huge advantage over the Ryder Cup in not trying to sandwich all of the play into three days: the decision to kick off with the four-ball instead of foursomes.

In analyzing the teams, pundits are now saying four-balls is the format the USA is no good at, yet in the Ryder Cup it's a strength. I'm still trying to figure out that year-by-year reversal.

Either way, Jeff Rude explains why this may get things off to a less deflating start thanks to the format switch that should benefit an International squad still apparently not reeling from Vijay Singh's absense.

The whole thing comes down to who makes the putts since the deregulation of equipment has everyone pretty much striking the ball the same, and Will Gray looks to stats to reveal that the Americans hold a huge edge.

John Strege breaks down the pairings and they played out pretty much as expected.

And finally, The Presidents Cup broadcast schedule:

Golf Channel Airtimes (Eastern):

Thursday         11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)

Friday              1-6 p.m. (Live) / 8 p.m.-1 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday          8 p.m.-2 a.m. (NBC Replay)
Sunday            8 p.m.-2 a.m. (NBC Replay)
 
NBC Airtimes (Eastern):

Saturday          8 a.m.-6 p.m. (Live)
Sunday            Noon-6 p.m. (Live)

Nick Price On Native Zimbabwe: "It's been so depressing since the land-grabbing started"

Greg Norman wonders forlornly if he didn't get a third chance to lose the Presidents Cup because he walked away from a Rolex deal.

Nick Price wonders forlornly about his native Zimbabwe.

I think we've got an upgrade in the Presidents Cup captaincy!

On the eve of the "must win" matches (oy...it's not going away!), Barry Havenga profiles Price and his assistant captains Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone, who all hail from the deteriorating country.

Accompanying this chaos has been the dismantling of one of the finest golf environments ever seen. In the 1960s and '70s, even amid political upheaval from minority rule that caused the United States to impose trade sanctions on Rhodesia, the country was a golf Camelot. Located along the northeast border of South Africa, it featured brilliant weather, a large number of courses with affordable fees and active junior programs that would, for a few golden years, produce a disproportionate number of the world's finest players.

Three-time major champion Price, now 56, as well as his assistant captains, Mark McNulty, 59, and Tony Johnstone, 57, were products of this time. So were Denis Watson and renowned instructor David Leadbetter. "The weather was so good that you were outdoors 365 days a year, so we played everything," recalls Price. "My brother [Tim] bought a bag of clubs, not a set, a bag, completely mixed clubs. People say there wasn't hickory around in 1965 -- there was in Rhodesia! We didn't have access to new equipment because of sanctions, so we made the most of everything we had."

PGA Tour Pulling Out All The Presidents Cup Stops: Kenny G Enlisted For Another Sunday Night Property Evacuation

Calling on one of the more brilliant operational ploys in sports venue management history, the PGA Tour will again call on Kenny G to begin ushering fans off of the Muirfield Village property following Sunday's Presidents Cup play but before the Closing Ceremony.

In other words, he's been brought in to give the players and dignitaries time to make their nineteenth wardrobe change of the week.

Used to great property-clearing effect at The Players in 2007, G will lean upon his indecipherably different renditions of Songbird, My Heart Will Go On and close his set with smooth jazz-infused rendition of the Ohio State fight song Battle Cry.

Kenny G to perform in The Presidents Cup Fan Experience prior to Closing Ceremony


DUBLIN, Ohio (October 1, 2013) – The long, anticipated wait is over and The Presidents Cup week officially began this morning with gates opening to the public at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.  While there is much to do, see and celebrate over the next six days, tournament officials are pleased to unveil plans for Closing Ceremony on Sunday, October 6.  In addition to marking the official close of the event, fans will be treated to a performance by Grammy-Award-winning saxophonist Kenny G prior to the introduction of the teams.

The Kenny G performance and Closing Ceremony will be held in The Presidents Cup Fan Experience, which offers fans and local residents a place to enjoy food and beverages, entertainment, shopping and a variety of interactive displays throughout tournament week. The Presidents Cup Fan Experience is located on approximately 3 acres just outside the main gates at Muirfield Village Golf Club and is open to the public, with no ticket required.  Parking is free at the Columbus Zoo and Gardens with a free shuttle to the Fan Experience.

Shark Shrieks About Lost Prez Cup Captaincy, Rolex To Blame?

Even though it was just time for some new blood in Greg Norman parlance, the Great White Shark has opened up about not getting the "real reason" from sparring partner Tim Finchem over being replaced as Presidents Cup Captain. The Shark calls it "extremely disappointing."

Robert Lusetich documents all of the whinging, which includes a conspiratorial angle related to the living icon's watch deal.

Norman, who was sponsored by Rolex, became public enemy No. 1 when he departed for Omega. Not just because he left but because Rolex believes he has used his contacts to usher Omega into golf, a sport that had largely been Rolex domain.

You know, sometimes I just feel so detached from the First World. Go on...

Rolex remains the official timekeeper of the PGA Tour and the Presidents Cup.

Last summer, after Omega replaced Rolex as the official timekeeper of the Ryder Cup at Medinah, Norman was told he wasn’t needed to play in the pro-am for the Senior British Open at Turnberry — where he won one of his two majors, in 1986 — and was asked to leave the room at a Rolex-sponsored press conference.

“Look, I know that Rolex is a corporate partner of the PGA Tour and there’s been some speculation I’ve heard that that was the reason why (he was replaced),” he said.

“If that’s right, then all I can say is that it’s really pathetic.

“The other sad part about it is that nobody has reached out to me or any of my past team and asked us what we thought would be good changes to make, or ideas we might have had about the Presidents Cup.

“We were just completely cut off."

Jordan, Schmordan: Hideki Matsuyama Makes Prez Cup Debut

Jordan Spieth's first professional team competition will be analyzed to death, as it should for the impressive upstart and captain's pick.

But as Sean Martin notes, the International squad has a 21-year-old phenom in Hideki Matsuyama who has great finishes in the Masters and Open Championship on his resume and is every bit as talented.

Matsuyama's performance at some of the game's biggest tournaments confirms Maruyama's assessment. Matsuyama occasionally wears a logo depicting a cartoon penguin with half of an egg shell atop its head. It's the logo of the Tohoku Fukushi golf team; the head coach, Yasuhiko Abe, selected it because of penguins' patience and perseverance in trying conditions. He wants his team to display similar fortitude. Abe is a short, stocky man with a crew-cut haircut; he coached baseball before becoming Tohoku Fukushi's golf coach. He calls Matsuyama a “fighter” and a “bulldog.”

Said International Team Captain Nick Price, “He’s obviously got big-game temperament, no doubt. Playing the way he did at the U.S. Open and British Open as a rookie was simply amazing.”

Matsuyama will be tested in another big arena this week. He's the only player at the Presidents Cup who hasn’t previously completed at Muirfield Village.

The People Speak: 85% Want Spieth On Prez Cup Squad

I expected enthusiasm for the lad from Dallas but 85% with over 600 votes is a landslide.

Captain Couples, are you listening? We'll find out at 11 am PT Wednesday as the selections are made by the captains. Check out PGATour.com for the press conference stream.

Golf Channel's Win McMurry and Jason Sobel break down the picks and Sobel is all for Spieth making the team.

Instant Poll: Should Couples Pick Spieth?

The first ten spots for the 2013 Presidents Cup teams have been filled.

Here are the rosters for U.S. Captain Fred Couples and International Captain Nick Price. U.S. first, followed by the Internationals:

1 Tiger Woods
2 Brandt Snedeker
3 Phil Mickelson
4  Matt Kucher
5 Jason Dufner
6 Keegan Bradley
7 Steve Stricker
8 Bill Haas
9 Hunter Mahan
10 Zach Johnson

1 Adam Scott
2 Jason Day
3 Charl Schwartzel
4 Ernie Els
5 Louis Oosthuizen
6 Hideki Matsuyama
7 Branden Grace
8 Graham DeLaet
9 Richard Sterne
10 Angel Cabrera

Couples faces a decision to select two from the group of Simpson, Johnson, Furyk, Watson, Horschel, while sentiment suggests that PGA Tour rookie sensation Jordan Spieth should get the pick even though he didn't make the top 20 points earners.

John Strege on the Spietch dilemma for Captain Couples, who offered this analogy:

"If I was the Boston Bruins or Calgary Flames and I was making a playoff run late in the year, I don't make a trade for a rookie," he said. "I make a trade for a quality player that's good in the locker room, correct? Now golf, that's the way I look at it. I left Keegan Bradley off the team two years ago. He won the PGA and the Byron Nelson."

Meanwhile Helen Ross reports bad news for the harmless animals of the world, as Steve Stricker--No. 1 "good guy" according to Golf Digest--made the team but during Tour Championship week plans to slaughter some defenseless elk in Wyoming Colorado, ending his playoff hopes.

Another heartwarming playoff story.

But to the question at hand, should Captain Couples pick Spieth? I say yes and pair him with Tiger, it'll be great for both of them.

Should Fred Couples select Jordan Spieth for the 2013 Presidents Cup Team?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Oy: Muirfield Village's New Presidents Cup Fence Kills Two Deer

Residents around Muirfield Village are not pleased with the new iron fencing that has already killed two deer in gruesome fashion. The fencing has been installed as part of the Presidents Cup security by the PGA Tour Championship Management in conjunction with Muirfield Village.

From a report by the local ABC affiliate in Columbus.

A Facebook page has been established by the residents to get the fence changed.

Price Tried To Get Presidents Cup Format Changed; Tim Said No!

Nick Price was probably a little more blunt about his attempts get the Presidents Cup format changed, all but saying the event will struggle if something isn't done.

An unbylined SkySports report was one of the few to report Price's comments that might have had Commissioner Finchem longing for a Greg Norman captaincy.

"When you've only got four pairings and you've got 12 guys to choose from, that's a lot easier because you take your best players.

"The Europeans put out the eight best players they can. It would be really interesting to see if the Ryder Cup was played under the Presidents Cup points system what the outcome would be."

Price and Ernie Els put the idea of a change of format to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who has opted to retain the 34-match schedule for this year's contest.

"Initially Tim was receptive and then he phoned me back three weeks later and said he wasn't prepared to change," added Price. "He didn't think it needed a change. Ernie and I were really disappointed with the outcome.

Nick Price Aims To Have Prez Cup Decided On Sunday Instead Of The Usual Saturday Night Conclusion

PGATour.com Staff reports on the suspense-free announcement of 2013 Presidents Cup Captains Fred Couples and Nick Price, with Price suggesting he has some ideas on how to prevent the issue of suspense-free Sundays.

"I have some ideas that I think will maybe make it a little closer on Sunday," Price said Tuesday.
Like his predecessor Greg Norman, who captained the International team in the previous two Presidents Cups, Price has prior playing experience in this event. In fact, no Presidents Cup captain on either side has ever made more appearances than Price's five between 1994-2003. Couples played in four Presidents Cups from 1994-2005.

As to why Greg Norman isn't getting another shot while Fred Couples is, Tim Finchem said the International candidates are stacking up. Not much of a compliment for the American prospects!

Asked about the switch from Norman to Price, Finchem said the list of potential International captains is getting long, and that unlike on the U.S. side, which has annual captain opportunities in both the Presidents and Ryder Cups, the International captaincy is available just once every two years.

"The list was piling up on players who should be captain. It was a more acute situation on the International side," Finchem said. "... That was the tilting factor."

Dave Shedloski says the Shark is handling it well. So far.

"I got an e-mail from Greg two days ago, a very nice e-mail wishing me the best of luck. That was very kind of him," Price said. "This is such a huge honor for me. I am so looking forward to it - and I don't look forward to too many things right now. The big thing is I want that buzz for the players. And then, you know, I want to win."

The video: