- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2009

A closer look at the teams at this week’s Presidents Cup, which begins Thursday at the 7,137-yard, par-71 Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco:

SQUADS

UNITED STATES

Captain Fred Couples and vice captains Jay Haas and Michael Jordan

PlayerWorld ranking

Tiger Woods1

Phil Mickelson2

Steve Stricker3

Kenny Perry6

Jim Furyk9

Stewart Cink13

Sean O’Hair14

Lucas Glover*17

Zach Johnson18

Anthony Kim22

Hunter Mahan*25

Justin Leonard38

INTERNATIONAL

Captain Greg Norman and vice captain Frank Nobilo

PlayerWorld ranking

Geoff Ogilvy10

Vijay Singh15

Camilo Villegas16

Retief Goosen21

Ernie Els23

Angel Cabrera28

Y.E. Yang30

Mike Weir31

Robert Allenby32

Tim Clark37

Ryo Ishikawa*43

Adam Scott*65

* Captain’s pick

SCHEDULE

Thursday

Opening foursomes (six matches), 2:30 p.m., Golf Channel

Friday

Opening four-balls (six matches), 1:55 p.m., Golf Channel

Saturday

Second foursomes (five matches), 10:35 a.m., Chs, 4, 11

Second four-balls (five matches), 3:05 p.m., Chs. 4, 11

Sunday

Singles (12 matches), 12:25 p.m., Chs. 4, 11

SKINNY

Three things to watch:

1. Form

For the first time since the 2002 Ryder Cup, the U.S. squad enters one of these postseason team match-play competitions holding both the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. Headlined by the world’s top three players (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker), the U.S. roster boasts a much higher average world ranking, is vastly more experienced in these events, should enjoy a home-course edge in San Francisco and arrives in far superior form from top to bottom. All 19 of the U.S. squad’s 2009 victories have come on the PGA Tour, and eight of the players collected wins this season.

2. Foursomes

The U.S. team has built its 5-1-1 record in the Presidents Cup by routinely dominating in the alternate-shot format. The International team has taken the overall four-balls by a narrow four points, and the United States owns a solid 11-point edge in singles. But the Americans have thrashed the Internationals by 20 points in the foursomes, winning basically two out of every three points. That makes Thursday’s opening set of foursomes matches immense. Given the underdog status of Greg Norman’s bunch, the International team can ill-afford to fall behind big early.

3. Wild cards

If the International squad hopes to compete at Harding Park, Norman’s two questionable captain’s choices will have to come through. It was surprising when Norman selected countryman Adam Scott, a player who plummeted from No. 3 to 65 in the world rankings thanks to a dreadful season with the putter. And 18-year-old Ishikawa, while undeniably talented, has hardly made a ripple outside of Japan and might not be prepared for this week’s high-stress team stakes.

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