Presidents Cup News: What We’ve Learned Through First Two Matches

The 2015 Presidents Cup is half way over and the International’s are trailing by a single a point. So far, everything has been far more competitive than we had thought it might be on Thursday.

On top of the great golf on the course, there’s been plenty to talk about in the periphery. Whether its awkward looking celebrations, the rebirth of an American golf legend or the tenacity of young man playing his final professional event before being forced to join the military, there have been some stories generated this week in South Korea.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

The International’s Aren’t Going Away

It seems like every other year, regardless of what happened in the Ryder Cup, the American’s are going to be able to enjoy themselves a route of the International squad at the Presidents Cup.

Since biennial events inception in 1994, the Americans have complied an 8-1-1 record against the Internationals and have won the last five meetings in a row in resounding fashion — but that could change this week.

With Nick Price at the helm for the second consecutive playing, he’s got one of the strongest teams the side has ever had — and on Friday afternoon in South Korea, they proved that, while this event may be classified as an exposition, they’re not going to go quietly.

After a 4-1 loss in Thursday’s foursome matches, the Internationals came back in a big way on Friday, claiming 3 1/2 points in the fourball matches.

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Golfers Still Haven’t Figured Out This Celebration Thing

For a group of people with such incredible hand-eye coordination, some of whom are blessed with the superb athletic ability and in the best shape of their lives, who can see any type of shot you can imagine on a golf course — they really are down-right terrible at celebrating.

This week, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson added another chapter to the odd/weird/what was that history of PGA Tour celebrations with their “gentlemanly handshake” after every good shot.

The celebration caught out attention on Thursday after the two were victorious in foursome matches, so much so that ZJ had to explain to us that the two chose to do the handshake since the reigning Open Champion wasn’t much of a celebrator like the guy Phil is used to playing with in these team events — Keegan Bradley.

I get the idea, and it was funny the first two times, but doing it after every great play — when both players are playing so well — it looks quite odd and it should probably just be abandoned in favor of a normal high-five.

Phil Mickelson May Not Have Been Such a Bad Choice

Speaking of Phil Mickelson, coming into the week in South Korea, he captain Jay Haas was being criticized for taking Lefty with one of his two captains pick – but at this point, it looks like one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

Through two days, Mickelson has won 1 1/2 points with Zach Johnson, holed out two bunker shots to win holes, lost the same hole twice in one match and given us an awkward celebration for the ages. All we need now is a holed flop shot and this week will be complete.

Here’s a look at his incredible shot from Friday’s fourball matches:

In all seriousness, however, Mickelson has done so far exactly what Haas thought he would. He’s been a leader. Despite his terrible 2015 campaign and no real signs that said he deserved to be picked, he’s the elder statesman of American golf and deserved the chance.

Heck, on Friday, he and Johnson neutralized the International’s two best players (according to Official World Golf Rankings) in Jason Day and Adam Scott.

Right now, Mickelson’s obviously making the most of what could be his final opportunity representing team U.S.A — and making Jay Haas look like a genius in the process.

Sang-Moon Bae is a Force to be Reckoned With

By now, everyone knows the plight of South Korean star Sang-Moon Bae, who will begin his mandatory two year service in the Korean military following the Presidents Cup. Bae, who has had an impressive year on the PGA Tour, made his first International roster this year as a captain’s pick by Nick Price.

After being benched on Thursday, Bae teamed up with Danny Lee. After a back-and-forth affair with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, the match hinged on Bae’s putt on 18:


It’s hard to imagine Bae won’t be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the week as he plays in front of his home fans for what will be the last time for at least two years.

Can you imagine the story if Bae ends up with the putt to win the Presidents Cup on Sunday? Even as an American, I’ll admit, that’d be pretty freakin’ awesome — and is quietly what I’m rooting for to happen.

Rickie Fowler Can Eat a lot of Korean BBQ

Rickie Fowler can do a lot of things — one them, apparently, is eat.

While food has been an issue of much contention this week (pbj-gate) there was no contending who was the Korean BBQ eating champion for the week. According to Jordan Spieth, that prize went to Fowler:

”Rickie took down just about everything and licked the bowl,” Spieth said.

Spieth also acknowledged that, while there was no BBQ sauce (which was a “game-changer”) the food was still very good and that everyone enjoyed it.

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