How Does the Presidents Cup Work?

min read
The U.S. team hold their trophy after they won the President's Cup golf tournament at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. The U.S. team won the tournament 16-14.
(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Ryan Hannable @RyanHannable Sep 19, 2022, 6:00 AM
  • The event is held every two years.
  • It’s USA vs. International (world excluding Europe).
  • The International side hasn’t won since 1998.

The Presidents Cup is a team competition held every two years between the United States and an International team that includes the entire world except Europe. This makes for a unique week of golf betting.

It alternates venues in the United States and overseas. 

In 2019, the United States beat the International squad, 16-14, at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia. This continued the United States’ dominance, as they haven’t lost since 1998.

The 2021 event was pushed to 2022 due to COVID-19.

The next edition is Sept. 22-25 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Davis Love III will captain the United States, while Trevor Immelman will lead the International team.

 

How Are Presidents Cup Players Chosen?

For the United States, the six PGA Tour members who earned the most FedExCup points from the 2019 A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier through the 2022 BMW Championship automatically earned a spot on the team.

Those players were: Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau.

A few weeks later, captain Davis Love III made six captains picks: Kevin Kisner, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Young and Jordan Spieth.

The International team qualification period began with the 2021 Open Championship and ran through the 2022 BMW Championship. The top eight players from the points list automatically made the team, and the rest would be captains picks.

The top eight players in the standings were: Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Joohyung “Tom” Kim, Corey Conners, Adam Scott and Mito Pereira. Smith and Niemann have joined the LIV Tour, so they are ineligible. 

Immelman selected six more players: K.H. Lee, Sebastian Munoz, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Taylor Pendrith, and Si Woo Kim.

Presidents Cup Format

The Presidents Cup spans four days and is a match-play format with 30 total matches between the 12 United States players and the 12 International players. Whichever team accumulates the most points (one point for a win, ½ point for a half) wins the Presidents Cup.

Thursday

Five matches total, four-ball (best ball) or foursomes (alternate shot).

Friday

Five matches total, foursomes or four-ball (the opposite of Thursday’s format).

Saturday

Eight matches total, four-ball and foursomes split the morning and afternoon.

Sunday

Twelve matches total, singles.

How Are Presidents Cup Pairings Determined?

The captains of each team decide who will play each day and when. Not all players will play each day except for Sunday. Typically, the pairings are announced the day before, except for Saturday’s afternoon wave when those get revealed that morning.

Captains typically pair players who are friendly with each other. For example, since Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth have been close since they were kids, they usually get paired together.

The best players usually play in all five matches, while the weak links sometimes play only once or twice.

What if the Presidents Cup Ends in a Tie?

If the event ends in a tie, both teams will share the trophy. This happened in 2003.

There was a sudden-death playoff between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, but once darkness settled in, the team captains – Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player – agreed on a tie.

Are Presidents Cup Players Paid?

No. There is no purse or prize money. Instead, each player designates a charity of his choice to receive a portion of the funds raised during the week.

Presidents Cup History

YearWinnerVenue
2019United States (16-14)Royal Melbourne
2017United States (19-11)Liberty National
2015United States (15.5-14.5)Jack Nicklaus Golf Club (Korea)
2013United States (18.5-15.5)Muirfield Village
2011United States (19-15)Royal Melbourne
2009United States (19.5-14.5)Harding Park
2007United States (19.5-14.5)Royal Montreal
2005United States (18.5-15.5)Robert Trent Jones Golf Club
2003Tied (17-17)Fancourt Hotel and Country Club
2000United States (21.5-10.5)Robert Trent Jones Golf Club
1998International (20.5-11.5)Royal Melbourne
1996United States (16.5-15.5)Robert Trent Jones Golf Club
1994United States (20-12)Robert Trent Jones Golf Club

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About the Author

Ryan Hannable

Read More @RyanHannable

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”

Ryan Hannable is a copy editor on the Web Content Team for BetMGM. Previously, he was a New England Patriots beat writer for WEEI in Boston. He also has published a golf book, “The Ultimate Book of Golf Trivia: 600 Questions and Answers.”