In just two weeks time, Trevor Immelman and his International team will descend on Charlotte to try to pull off one of the biggest upsets in golf history.
The latest edition of The Presidents Cup, this time at Quail Hollow Club, again features a U.S. team, led by Captain Davis Love III, that on paper has significantly more firepower than Captain Immelman's international side.
While the Internationals have traditionally fielded a slightly underdog team in this event due to the juggernaut that is American golf, the emergence of LIV Golf has upended a roster that came close to defeating the U.S. team in Australia in 2019 at Royal Melbourne.
That squad took a 10-8 lead into Sunday singles before narrowly losing to Tiger Woods and company. Despite the late heartbreak, that close call signaled more competitive days were ahead for The Presidents Cup, at least until several key members of both squads defected to LIV this year.
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While the U.S. team will be without 2019 members Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau (World No. 1 at the time Brooks Koepka missed the event due to injury), the International side has bigger shoes to fill.
Australian Cam Smith, a 2019 team member who surged to No. 2 in the world following his British Open victory in July, made the move to LIV late last month, along with fellow young star Joaquín Niemann and veteran Marc Leishman. They followed their 2019 teammates Louis Oosthuizen and Abe Ancer to Greg Norman's upstart league.
All five are significant losses for the Internationals, but none more than Smith and Niemann, both under 30 years old and just coming into their respective primes.
Immelman has filled out his roster with six captains picks to hopefully give the team a chance, but can they overcome a significant gap in the world rankings compared to the U.S. side?
BetCarolina.com utilized PresidentsCup.com to find past fields for the Presidents Cup tournaments in both 2019 & 2017. We then used OWGR.com to find the Official World Golf Rankings of each golfer in the field over the past 3 times the event has been held.
Utilizing basic math, we were able to figure out the average OWGR of a golfer in each Presidents Cup field to look at the uphill battle the Internationals face.
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2022 Presidents Cup Fields World Golf Ranking (OWGR) vs. Past Fields
Numbers Not on Internationals' Side
Unfortunately for the Internationals, their average OWGR is easily the highest on record over the last three Presidents Cups (which includes a 19-11 drubbing in New Jersey in 2017).
Together, Immelman's squad average OWGR is 48.75, nearly nine spots lower than 2019 (40.75) and well off 2017's average (32.50).
Smith's standing as No. 2 in OWGR, plus Niemann at No. 19, would have significantly shifted the results.
Love's U.S. squad meanwhile has an average OWGR of 11.75, easily staving off the losses of Johnson, Koepka, Reed and DeChambeau with the additions of No. 1 himself Scottie Scheffler, No. 8 Collin Morikawa, No. 12 Sam Burns and No. 13 Jordan Spieth (who missed the 2019 event after a down season).
In total, the Internationals face their biggest uphill battle in recent Presidents Cup history, with a 37-point difference in average OWGW, largely due in part to LIV's emergence on the golf scene.
Is an upset possible? Perhaps, as Immelman's captains pick strategy did not seem overly dependent on OWGR standing. The 2008 Masters champion passed over No. 47 Ryan Fox, a big-hitting New Zealander who rarely plays in the U.S., to instead pick No. 114 Taylor Pendrith, who had moderate success on the PGA Tour this season.
Does the International captain know something that the data doesn't show? Time will tell.
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BetCarolina.com utilized PresidentsCup.com to find past fields for the Presidents Cup tournaments in 2019 & 2017. We then used OWGR.com to find the Official World Golf Rankings of each golfer in the field over the past 3 times the event has been held. Utilizing basic math, we were able to figure out the average OWGR of a golfer in each Presidents Cup field to look at the difference.