“We’ve got a young team — we’re gonna be good for a long time.”
— Dustin Johnson
The Presidents Cup began with everyone standing for the National Anthem last week. It ended Sunday with everyone wanting to shake hands with President Donald Trump.
The 2017 Presidents Cup matches are over, in the books, wasn’t close, wasn’t supposed to be.
The United States was supposed to politely pound the out-manned International team and it did.
It was 14 1/2 to 3 1/2 going into Sunday, ended 19-11, hats off to the International lads for their 7 1/2 to 4 1/2 domination of the singles matches.
It was anti-climatic.
President Donald Trump showed up to glad-hand both sides. The International players surrounded him first, he shook hands, patted backs, posed for cell phone pics, no one was overlooked. The President had time for everyone, caddies too. Trump shook the hand of and looked Zack Rasego in the eye and gave him a big smile. Rasego is Brandon Grace’s caddie, a black man from South Africa. What will the far left say about that?
The Americans were all over Trump as well. More pics, more handshakes, first-ever appearance at this event by a sitting President.
It was a good day for all, Liberty National Golf Club was a huge winner, a super backdrop for an event that would otherwise be considered pretty dull.
The handwriting was on the wall from day one. Steve Stricker’s goal was to win every session and they did up until the Sunday singles.
That’s when the Internationals picked themselves up out of the dirt and went down fighting. They didn’t go quietly, winning six matches to only three for the U.S. Only U.S. winners were team rookie Daniel Berger, Rickie Fowler and who else but Phil Mickelson.
It was Mickelson’s 100th match, he’s played just short of 1,700 holes between these matches and the Ryder Cup. He sounded a bit dismayed when told that the youngsters on the U.S. team refer to him as “grandpa.”
These matches do nothing for the International players. All the benefit goes to the U.S. team. Basically this is nothing more than a dress rehearsal for the Ryder Cup. It lets Jim Furyk see which players perform well together in the two-man team matches. It’s all about Paris in 2018. There’s nowhere in 2018 for the Internationals.
“We played pretty well as a team,” observed Rickie Fowler in a major understatement. “It wasn’t the best of days today,” he said of the singles backfire.
Dustin Johnson played like the No. 1 that he is. D.J. went 4-0-1. Phil and Rickie went 3-0-1. They were three unbeaten Americans.
Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas all went 3-1-1. Giving credence to Johnson’s statement about these guys looking good for a long time.
It won’t be anything like this when the Ryder Cup convenes in France next year.
Like the United States, Europe has a lot of young talent. Anybody heard of Jon Rahm?
“It was weird to have a stress-free Sunday singles,” Mickelson said, thinking back on all the stressful Ryder Cup Sundays he’s seen.
This entire week looked pretty stress free for this band of American players.
They were heavily favored and played the part.
They look like a special bunch.
“They are genuinely happy for each others success,” Mickelson pointed out. “It took me two decades to learn that.”
Which brings us back to the kids like Spieth, Fowler, Thomas and Berger. They do like each other, they hang out with each other and congratulate each other’s successes on the PGA Tour.
And that’s a breath of fresh air in this sport.