On Monday evening, the automatic qualifiers for both the United States and International Presidents Cup teams were confirmed. Early on Wednesday evening, the captains revealed their final two selections for their respective rosters. Steve Stricker announced that Charley Hoffman and Phil Mickelson would complete the American roster, while Nick Price announced that Emiliano Grillo and Anirban Lahiri would round out the International roster.
For the Americans, the reveal doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Hoffman finished just behind Kevin Chappell for the 10th and final qualifying spot, and also held the lead outright or shared the lead on the weekend of both The Masters and U.S. Open. He did fade down the stretch in both of those majors, but the strong form was hard to ignore. Overall, two runner-ups, two third place finishes, and seven top-10s was too good of a season to not include Hoffman.
Mickelson, however, did not have as strong of a season. He did card five top-10 finishes but, up until last week, had not finished in the top-10 since early June. That being said, Mickelson now has now made 23 straight team appearances (including the Ryder Cup). That well of experience is going to come in handy with an inexperienced, younger roster. Plus, whose belly was the team going to rub if Phil wasn’t there?
Grillo is a young Argentine who won in his first tournament as a member of the PGA Tour in 2015 when he took home the Safeway Open title in a playoff. He was also the 2016 Rookie of the Year on Tour and has made it multiple weeks into the FedEx Cup Playoffs each of his first two seasons. The 24-year-old will be one of only a few youngsters on the International roster, though that’s not necessarily a bad situation going into your first team play event.
Lahiri was a bit of a surprise selection, given that he finished 16th in the International team standings and hasn’t really threatened to contend in a while. The problem with the International standings though was that nobody between Lahiri and Grillo (who finished 11th) had any more compelling of a case than Lahiri did. Price suggested in his post-announcement interview that Lahiri’s experience in playing in the 2015 Presidents Cup and his locker room presence were factors in selecting him again, so maybe it’s not so much of a surprise after all.
The Presidents Cup week kicks off September 26th at Liberty National G.C., but the competition spans from the 28th-October 1st. The first day will consist of 5 team foursomes matches (a.k.a alternate shot), and the second day will consist of 5 fourball matches (a.k.a best ball). On the third day, there will be 4 foursomes matches in the morning and 4 fourball matches in the afternoon. On the final day of competition, both teams will send out all 12 players for singles matches. Each match will be worth one point and can either be won outright of halved. 30 points will be up for grabs in the competition, with the Americans (as defending champions) needing 15 points to retain the cup and the Internationals needing 15.5 points to win it outright.
These team competitions are always a blast, and a different competitive format usually yields some amazing highlights. We’re just under three weeks away. The countdown begins.