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)