How it works: Presidents Cup

The 14th edition of the Presidents Cup is upon us. Top players from around the globe have convened at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, for this thrilling team competition between the U.S. and International teams. To get you prepared for the matches, here’s everything you need to know about how the Presidents Cup works.
WHAT IS IT: The Presidents Cup began in 1994 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Virginia. This team competition between the U.S. and International teams is held every two years (except for one-year delays caused by 9/11 and COVID-19). The International Team is comprised of players from outside the United States and Europe. Each team is made up of 12 male players. This year’s match is being played at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 22-25.
NUMBER OF MATCHES: The Presidents Cup consists of 30 matches played over four days. There are 18 team matches – nine apiece using the Foursomes and Four-balls formats – followed by 12 Singles matches on Sunday.
Foursomes, or alternate shot, consists of a two-man team playing one ball. Teammates alternate hitting shots until the ball is holed, and the team with the lowest score on the hole wins. In Four-balls, both members of the team play their own ball. The lowest score between the team’s two members counts as the team’s score for the hole.
The United States’ Davis Love III, as the host Captain, chose to begin the Cup with Foursomes matches Thursday morning. The format for each round will then alternate accordingly.
There will be five Foursomes matches Thursday, five Four-ball matches on Friday and two rounds of four matches apiece on Saturday. There will be four Foursomes matches Saturday morning and four Four-ball matches in the afternoon.
POINTS: All matches are worth one point apiece, for a total of 30 points. There are no playoffs, with each side receiving a half-point for matches tied after 18 holes.
WHO WINS?: The first team to reach 15.5 points wins the Cup. If the competition is tied, 15-15, at the end of Singles play, the competition will be deemed a tie and the teams will share the Presidents Cup. This is inspired by the 2003 Presidents Cup, which was deemed a tie after a memorable playoff between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els was halted due to darkness.
RESULTS: The United States has won 11 of the 13 Presidents Cup. The 2003 edition ended in a tie, while the International Team won in 1998 at Royal Melbourne. The United States is the defending champion after winning, 16-14, at Royal Melbourne in 2019.
WHO PLAYS?: World Golf Hall of Famer Davis Love III is the U.S. Captain this year, while former Masters champion Trevor Immelman is the International captain. Each team is comprised of six automatic qualifiers and six captain’s picks.
The U.S. Team’s automatic qualifiers were based on FedExCup points earned over the previous three seasons. Each FedExCup point earned in the 2019-20 season was worth a half-point for the U.S. Presidents Cup standings. In 2020-21, each FedExCup point was worth one Presidents Cup point, and FedExCup points were tripled for the 2021-22 season. The top six players in the U.S. standings after the BMW Championship on Aug. 21 qualified for the team. Love made six captain’s picks on Sept. 7.
The International Team qualification period ran from the 2021 Open Championship through the 2022 BMW Championship.
The International Team’s points system operated similarly to the Official World Golf Ranking, except it used a proprietary calculation to determine field strength and the quantity of points awarded per event. International Team points earned from this year’s PGA Championship through the BMW Championship were given a 25% premium. The ranking was determined by the average points per start in the qualifying period (minimum 15 events).
LINEUP CARD: Pairings for Thursday Foursomes will be made at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 21 from the Interview Room within the Media Center. The captain of the defending team (U.S.) will choose who goes first to start the draw, and the captains will alternate for the remaining sessions, i.e. if the U.S. chooses first for the first round, then the International Team will choose first for the second round.
Captains set their lineups for each session one match at a time, alternating in a snake format. For example, if the U.S. Team chooses first, Davis Love III will announce his two-man team for the first match. International Captain Trevor Immelman will then choose which two-man team he will send out in the first match and announce his team for the second match. Love will then respond with his team for the second match and choose his team for the third match. The same process will be used for Singles.
Each player is required to play a minimum of one match prior to the Singles session. Prior to 2019, players were required to compete in two matches prior to Singles.
TROPHY: Created by Tiffany & Company, The Presidents Cup trophy weighs a total of 28 pounds. The trophy is spun by a spinner from five sterling silver circles into five different shapes. The spun components then are put together by a silversmith to create a cup. The smith runs a roller die to create the beaded embellishment that goes around the cup and the foot of the trophy. The oval logo is etched and applied on the cup. Labor dedicated to creating the trophy totaled 80 hours (spinning, smithing, finishing). The entire trophy is vermeil in 24-carat gold, and the original trophy is housed at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida.

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