Presidents Cup: Meet the American team

Tiger Woods during the PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods during the PGA Championship.

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The U.S. team hasn’t lost the Presidents Cup since 1998, coincidentally the last time the matches were played at Royal Melbourne. Since then, the Americans have gone 4-0-1, including a 19.5-14.5 victory over the International team two years ago at Harding Park in San Francisco.

Here is an in-depth look at this year’s team, captained by Fred Couples:

•••

1. Matt Kuchar

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 69.55

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 9 (23 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-27, Masters; T-14, U.S. Open; MC, British Open; T-19, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: First appearance

Outlook: Affable, steady, solid – Kooch would be a good partner for just about anyone on the U.S. side. He went 1-1-2 at last year’s Ryder Cup, where he twice partnered with Stewart Cink (not on Presidents Cup roster).

•••

2. Steve Stricker

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More stories on Stricker

Health an issue

Strong partnership with Tiger

Scoring average on Tour: 69.33

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 5 (19 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-11, Masters; T-19, U.S. Open; T-12, British Open; T-12, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: 9-6 (4th appearance)

Outlook: The big question mark is his health (neck, arm). If he is without limitation, Stricker has a great history with Tiger Woods as his partner. They combined to go 4-0 in the 2009 matches.

•••

3. Dustin Johnson

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 70.75

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 6 (21 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-38, Masters; T-23, U.S. Open; T-2, British Open; MC, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: First appearance

Outlook: One of the biggest hitters at the Presidents Cup, but went 0-3 in the team portion at last year’s Ryder Cup. Could be an interesting team room, too, with his former caddie, Joe LaCava, now looping for Tiger.

•••

4. Webb Simpson

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 69.31

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 10 (24 starts)

Major finishes this season: DNP, Masters; T-14, U.S. Open; T-16, British Open; MC, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: First appearance

Outlook: Not his first team competition – he was a member of the 2007 U.S. Walker Cup team – and Simpson was one of the breakthrough players on Tour this season.

•••

5. Nick Watney

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Scoring average on Tour: 69.78

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 9 (21 starts)

Major finishes this season: 46, Masters; MC, U.S. Open; MC, British Open; T-12, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: First appearance

Outlook: The four-time Tour winner played on the World Cup team in ’09. Streaky player, seemingly ideal for team competition.

•••

6. Phil Mickelson

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Scoring average on Tour: 70.21

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 7 (21 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-27, Masters; T-54, U.S. Open; T-2, British Open; T-19, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: 15-13-10 (9th appearance)

Outlook: Lefty seems to play better in this than the Ryder Cup. In the past three Presidents Cups he has gone 9-1-5, including 4-0-1 in 2009.

•••

7. Bubba Watson

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 70.56

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 3 (22 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-38, Masters; T-63, U.S. Open; T-30, British Open; T-26, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: First apperance

Outlook: At the 2010 Ryder Cup, his first team competition, Watson went 1-3. In Australia he won’t be paired with Jeff “Boom, baby!” Overton, either. Put Bubba with a consistent-type, and he may thrive.

•••

8. David Toms

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Scoring average on Tour: 69.54

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 7 (22 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-24, Masters; MC, U.S. Open; DNP, British Open; T-4, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: 6-7-1 (4th appearance)

Outlook: Toms hasn’t played on the Presidents Cup since 2007, when he went 4-0-1 in Canada. Other than that, his record in this competition is pretty poor (2-7), including 1-3-1 in four-balls. Experience in this format isn’t the issue; he also has represented the U.S. on three Ryder Cup teams (2002, ’04, ’06).

•••

9. Hunter Mahan

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 69.98

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 9 (25 starts)

Major finishes this season: MC, Masters; MC, U.S. Open; MC, British Open; T-19, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: 4-4-1 (3rd appearance)

Outlook: The two-time Ryder Cupper nearly won $11.44 million at the Tour Championship. And surely he wants to redeem himself after his performance in the final Ryder Cup match last year against Graeme McDowell.

•••

10. Jim Furyk

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 70.71

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 4 (25 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-24, Masters; MC, U.S. Open; T-48, British Open; T-39, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: 15-10-3 (7th appearance)

Outlook: The 2010 FedEx Cup winner didn’t show the best form this season, but Furyk is as gritty as they come. Maybe this international friendly is exactly what he needs.

•••

Captain’s picks

11. Tiger Woods

photo


More stories on Woods

Controversial pick

Opinions

Tune-up

Scoring average on Tour: 70.75

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 2 (8 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-4, Masters; DNP, U.S. Open; DNP, British Open; MC, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: 18-11-1 (9th appearance)

Outlook: All eyes in Australia, obviously, will be focused on Woods. He hasn’t won on any tour in nearly two years but was guaranteed a spot on the team more than a month before the final picks were announced. Were other players more deserving? Yes. But if Woods plays well at Royal Melbourne, Couples’ reputation is saved.

12. Bill Haas

photo


Scoring average on Tour: 70.11

Top-10 finishes on Tour this season: 7 (26 starts)

Major finishes this season: T-42, Masters; T-23, U.S. Open; T-57, British Open; T-12, PGA Championship

Presidents Cup record: First appearance

Outlook: He was the last-minute addition to the team after winning both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup, and his father, Jay, is a vice captain. It was a toss-up for the final captain’s pick with Keegan Bradley, the PGA champion, but Haas is still worthy. And clearly he knows how to hit shots under pressure.

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