The 2017 PGA tour season finished up this week with the Tour Championship. The final round saw numerous players take the lead, but eventually Xander Schauffele took the title with a one-stroke victory over Justin Thomas after a birdie on the 72nd hole of the championship.
The Tour Championship was also the event that determined the FedEx Cup winner for the season. Players accumulated points over the season based on their performance in all the PGA tour tournaments that they competed in.
Justin Thomas, although he placed second in the Tour Championship, had the most points and was therefore presented with the FedEx Cup trophy. He was also presented with a bonus cheque for $10 million as the FedEx Cup Champion for 2017. Thomas won four times on tour this season and was not even predicted to be in the mix at the beginning of the 2017 season. As a rookie on tour in 2016, he was not even selected to the U.S. Ryder Cup team by captain Davis Love III.
Xander Scheffele was on the Web.com tour in 2016 and did not have his tour card to play on the PGA tour. The younger guys on tour have definitely made a statement in 2017.
This weekend the focus changes from stroke play to match play with the 2017 Presidents Cup. The event is played every two years and features two teams, one from the United States and the other an international team with players representing various countries from around the world.
The U.S. team has had a stranglehold on the Presidents Cup and has only lost the competition once to the Internationals. In 1998 the International squad upset the U.S. team with a 20 ½ to 11 ½ point victory at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.
This year’s United States team is captained by PGA tour veteran Steve Stricker. He has selected a 12-man American team that is made up of both champions as well as rookies on tour. The team includes Dustin Johnson, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Charley Hoffman, and a foursome of rookies that includes Daniel Berger, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner, and Kevin Chappell.
The International team is captained by South African Nick Price. His team includes Adam Scott, Jason Day, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Swartzel, Jonattan Vegas, Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, and Canadian Adam Hadwin. Price also selected four PGA tour rookies to his squad and they include Emiliano Grillo, Brandon Grace, Kim Si-Woo, and Anirban Lahiri.
The four-day match play tournament involves three different match play games. The first two days consist of five matches of foursomes and five matches of fourball. The foursome matches involve two players from each team competing in an alternate shot match which has two balls in play for every four players. Once a team member has teed off, then they alternate hitting the same ball with their partner until the ball is holed out. The lowest score per team wins the hole and a full point.
The fourball matches consist of two teams of two golfers competing against each other. Each golfer plays their own ball throughout the round, such that four balls are in play. A team’s number of strokes for a given hole is based on the the player with the lowest score. This format is sometimes referred to as a best ball match.
Day 3 of the Presidents Cup has four matches of foursomes and four matches of fourball. On the final day players will compete in 12 singles matches to bring the total number of matches for the event to 30.
Singles matches simply involve one player from one team competing against another player from the other team in a match play format. Every time a player wins a hole by outscoring their opponent, they win one point. Team captains and assistant captains will have some tough decisions to make when selecting players to compete in the singles matches on the final day of the competition.
So this weekend enjoy the Presidents Cup and if you get a chance go out and set up a match play competition with your family and your friends!
Next Week: A Time for Thanks