Presidents Cup 2022: Even in blowouts, team golf excels at entertainment given its unique format

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After the 2022 Presidents’ Cup, there will be no teary essays or overblown exaggerations about the future that resulted from last year’s Ryder Cup, but the event, which ended with a ninth straight victory for the United States, was still a huge success. Looking solely at the Wikipedia of Presidents Cup history, it would be easy to dismiss the event as something of a flop; however, this completely ignores the unique organization of team events and why they are especially interesting.

At some point in the last 10 years of coverage of the Ryder Cups, Solheim Cups, and Presidents Cups, it became apparent that even most (not all, but most) breakthroughs in these team competitions seem close to the very end. They also always seem to have weird moments that will inevitably happen before they are completed.

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On Saturday afternoon at this year’s Presidents’ Cup, just after Tom Kim hit the week to end his career day, an international team’s chance of winning the Presidents’ Cup increased from 3% to 3.6%, according to Data Golf. . . And yet, because of what happened at the 2012 Ryder Cup, and because Kim couldn’t lose, and because we like to believe in sports miracles, it seemed a lot closer.

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Let’s move on to Sunday. Despite Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay scoring singles points on the routes, Justin Thomas was desperate against Si Woo Kim and by the end of the day there was a stripe of black and gold on the board. It seemed like it was really coming and that the International had a real chance of winning 8.5 points in singles in their first tournament of the century.

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According to Data Golf, Americans’ chances of winning never dropped below 89% and mostly remained high in the 90s. Even an international team that scored 8.5 points in 12 matches against 12 players who, it turns out, are among the top 25 in the world, was an extremely difficult task.

This is the part where you scream about things not playing out on paper. While this is true, probabilistic models also provide a reality check for our emotions. Unlike us, they build projects not on impulse, feelings, or recognition of how many times Shi Wu has pumped JT’s soul, but rather on skill and math. While the non-material aspects of sports seem to influence the countless games and events we have watched over the years, we underestimate the material aspects – which is the most important – mainly because we want to believe.

golf data

This is where the beauty of the team golf schedule comes into play. You can talk yourself into flipping a particular match or certain events in other ways. If you were ignoring reality – and I almost always want to ignore reality during events like this – then the event was pretty exciting. This is because team competitions are becoming more and more volatile in terms of points distribution. Nearly half of the points available in team competition are played out within a tiny five-hour slot on Sunday afternoon, and the rest of the week seems to be closing in on that window.

Until you get a true rout, which sometimes happens, hope almost always stays flickering for longer than it should. Even in five-point wins (which are considered breakouts in team competitions like this one), you can talk yourself into it. It can be both beautiful and tragic.

“You know, we were in a tough spot this week on Friday,” said team captain Trevor Immelman. “We have shown a lot of courage to fight back. At some point, I don’t know about you guys, but at some point this afternoon I thought there was still a chance. And given that we were down 8-2 on Friday night, this team is no joke, and I’m already tired of being talked about as a joke.

“We love this event and we love our team and we can’t wait to come back for another chance.”

There has been a lot of talk this week about how the format and organization of the Presidents’ Cup should be changed. Endless possibilities have been cited as possible “solutions” to an event dominated by the United States. Although I could be persuaded to compete in mixed team events, the Presidents Cup is fun and good because the organization is absolutely perfect. As long as an international team maintains the basic level of competitiveness it has shown over the past four Cups, the structure of an event such as this one takes on most of the hard work.

And if you’re really a statistician or data scientist and can’t get rid of the fact that this Presidents Cup (like many other outliers) was never in doubt, even if it seemed so to you, there is good news for you too. There seems to be a trend towards continuity and galvanization in the international team room. Now, like the United States in the past, they just need to plug in a few future stars.

“It still hurts not to win,” said Adam Scott. “I think the big difference I’ve felt over the last couple of years is what’s going on in our team room, what’s going on between the captains and the players, the caddies, everyone involved in our team. I think good things are really starting to happen in our team. this environment.

“Once some of these players, who are here for the first time or the second time, start playing a few more and teams, this bond is formed over the years, I think that we will not leave here disappointed. The cup will come to us soon.” .”

When they find those extra stars, this event will be more interesting (and possibly competitive) than ever. And even if it’s not, it’s likely to continue in a way that for us sports fans, that’s all that really matters.


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