Heading into the 2017 Presidents Cup over the extended weekend, oddsmakers pegged the United States as a heavy favorite to pad its tournament winning streak to seven. It didn’t matter that most of its players just went through the rigors of the FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour’s season-ending slate that required them to participate in four stops through the immediate-past five weeks. As far as pundits were concerned, its roster was so stacked that the outcome figured to be closer to the laugher at the turn of the millennium than the humdinger two years ago.

As things turned out, the mavens were on the spot in their assessment. After the final putt was made in Sunday singles, the US stared at a 19-11 victory, the numbers belying the dominance with which it took the latest staging of the biennial event. It carried a 14.5-3.5 slate after the penultimate day of the affair, which meant that it needed just a point out of the next 12 head-to-head matches to claim its desired denouement. That point was secured on the 15th hole of the fourth set-to, making the rest of yesterday afternoon a mere exercise in goodwill.

Significantly, the US could have clinched the Presidents Cup as early as the day before; had it gone a perfect four of four in the afternoon Four-Ball session, it would have rendered the entirety of the supposedly suspenseful Sunday immaterial. And so superior was it that Dustin Johnson, its leading producer, managed to put up more points on the board by then than the entire International side combined. As losing captain Nick Price noted in the aftermath, “this is a juggernaut… They’re an overpowering team that played some phenomenal golf.”

Moving forward, the lopsided score may well spur organizers to look into more rules changes designed to hide the disparity in talent. In 2015, they agreed to trim down the number of points up for grabs to 30 from the previous 34; the move led to the most competitive Presidents Cup since the protagonists battled to a tie in 2003. On the other hand, no amount of legislation can amend the very premise of the tourney: the US makes up one side, while the rest of the world not counting Europe makes up the other.

In any case, it’s clear that the Presidents Cup could stand to be more compelling. It doesn’t have to be as hotly contested as the more storied Ryder Cup; it simply has to be less of a beating. That said, there’s value to seeing the best of the sport pull for one another. The goal is still to win, but the dynamics are different, and it’s worth watching no matter the circumstance.


Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Basic Energy Corp.