#AskAlan, Presidents Cup Edition

With thoughts about Tom Kim going to LIV (gasp!), giving JT gimmes, Homa as a neo-Poulter, which Americans make it to Rome, LIV FOMO and the perennial question: is Spieth back?

By Alan Shipnuck
Sept. 26, 2022

Given this exact moment, would Tom Kim going to LIV be worse than Cam Smith going after the Open? @MaintenanceBarn

It would definitely be a gut punch and a grim reminder to the PGA Tour, and golf fans, that every great achievement in the game can be reduced to a bargaining ploy with LIV. But the quote of the year in golf belongs to Max Homa: “You can’t buy my goals and my dreams.” What Tom Kim just experienced cannot be replicated at a LIV event with 50,000 folks watching on YouTube. For all the press conference bluster and all the money the PGA Tour is funneling to top players in a desperate attempt to buy their loyalty, I believe the good mojo and deep emotion around this Presidents Cup is the single greatest recruiting tool the Tour now has.

Should anyone ever give JT a gimme again? @EatandSleepGolf

Certainly not, and I doubt he’ll get one after this latest display of petulance, as Justin Thomas has once again gifted his opponents a roadmap on how to get in his head. He is off to a spectacular start in his team career, having produced a whopping 17.5 points in five Ryder/Presidents Cup appearances, but it’s time for Thomas to grow up and stop expecting anyone to give him anything in these grudge matches.

The USA has now won the President Cup nine times in a row. Will this continue to be a horrible product that was developed so the PGA Tour could make more money off the players?#AskAlan @TheGhostofhogan

I don’t know, the last Presidents Cup, at Royal Melbourne, was a banger. The 2015 Cup was a nail-biter that ended 15.5-14.5. So I’m not sure how horrible the product has been of late; it’s certainly been more fun and competitive than the last four Ryder Cups. It’s a bummer the inexperienced, underdog Internationals seemed a little overwhelmed this time around on Day 1, ending any suspense about the outcome. But the golf that followed was spirited, and there were plenty of indelible moments. I mean, it was certainly better than having to watch football.

Is Max Homa the new American Poulter? @frazerrice

Nah, he’s too likable. And that’s coming from someone who has always enjoyed Poulter. But during the Ryder Cup, Poults morphed into a preening, scowling badass who was soooo easy to root against. Homa played with fire and conviction, but he is so well-established as one of the good guys that it’s hard to imagine any fan base truly hating him.

Should playing on a Presidents Cupteam qualify for a military exemption for the South Koreans? #AskAlan@jjkilleentcu

Definitely! It’s hard to imagine South Korea could do anything in the political arena that would improve its global standing more than its four players did at the Prez Cup, with their tenacity, spunk and good cheer. The idea that Tom Kim or Sungjae Im or Si Woo Kim are going to lose two years of their career and possibly fall into the abyss (see Sangmoon Bae) is depressing in the extreme. They can serve their country honorably by making par, not war.

What’s this realistically look like without LIV? The American team I enjoyed without the LIV boys and DJ is probably the only elite guy who was missing for them. But the Internationals with Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann seems a lot more competitive. @bradleyrog

Imagine this U.S. team with a red-hot Dustin Johnson instead of Kevin Kisner—that is an all-time powerhouse. But if we sub in Smith and Niemann for Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith (both of whom went 0-4!), and Louis Oosthuizen for Mito Pereira (0-2-1), and add Abe Ancer for depth and firepower, the Internationals are a completely different team. The U.S still wins, but I think it would have been a death match.

How great is it to see Danielle Kang back out there! #AskAlan @BigManLeroyHen

What a gutty performance! It would have been cinematic if Kang had won the LPGA event in Arkansas, but it’s a victory for her just to be back in the mix. Kang has been tight-lipped about her medical ordeal, but we now know she had a tumor on her spine, which sounds quite concerning. She has a rare mix of gritty grind and starpower, so getting her back in fighting shape is a big deal for the LPGA.

How many majors will Charlie Woods win? @JohnAPBrennan

Gawd, did you see the mitts on that kid? He has grown a lot since the Father-Son last December and clearly still has a ways to go. The good genes come from both sides; mom Elin was by all accounts a very good soccer player. Obviously Charlie is going to have every advantage learning the game, but unique pressures too. He’ll certainly never get hardened by being an outsider like his dad did coming up. So many great jocks have tried to turn their kids into athletic powerhouses, and only a tiny fraction make it to the big leagues, let alone become stars. I’ll set the over/under on Charlie’s major championship haul at one, and the under is probably the smart bet. But I’d love to be wrong.

Are people really starting to call what Kisner did this weekend—be on the winning team but not contribute—a “Perez?” @fakePOULTER

If they’re not, they damn well should be.

Golf would be so much more fun if players showed Presidents Cup emotion every week. How can we make this happen? #AskAlan @betasbogus

How about we add a team element to every tournament? Oh, wait. Someone is already trying that. The Cups are just unique because the competitors are playing for something bigger than themselves, and I’m not talking about money or 4 Aces merch. And they spend all week incubating brotherhood and team spirit in a way that is impossible to replicate every week among rugged individualists. So I think we’re only going to get this once a year, but that’s what makes the palpable emotion so much fun.

Last President’s Cup had Royal Melbourne and Tiger. The latter is probably gone for good. But can’t America do better than a nice but ho-hum parkland course we already see every year? @HenriDeMarsay #AskAlan

I’ve always felt like the Cup venue is not that important because the players are competing against each other, not par. But Royal Melbourne is so stimulating and asks such interesting questions, and on reflection, it definitely added another layer of intrigue to the matches. The boring front nine at Quail Hollow was partially responsible for the sleepy vibe for much of these matches. Medinah in ’26 might have felt the same way, but Geoff Ogilvy is overseeing an overhaul that will make the course much livelier. Beyond that, we just have to hope the Tour thinks outside the box and gives us more compelling playing fields.

Do you think there is a chance that the U.S. PGA Tour will stop dictating what players the International teams are allowed to use? #askalan @wpertzel

Only if there is a larger detente between the Tour and LIV Golf. That remains a possibility, but a lot has to happen to get there, including a change in leadership. Short of that, the Tour is going to continue taking a hard line because it must.

#askalan What do you think Phil, Niemann, Smith and Bryson are feeling today? @CatfishBirddog

A mix of FOMO, regret and defiance. Those guys (and others) knew what they were giving up when they took the LIV money, but it’s one thing in theory and another when you see your former band of brothers having so much fun without you. However, I’ve spent enough time at LIV events to know those players have cultivated an acute sense of us-versus-them. Professional golf has become so tribal I doubt many LIV players will publicly express misgivings, even if they exist.

Which players on this U.S. team do you not see making it to Rome, if any? Who would be going in their place? #AskAlan @SonofaFitch46

Will Zalatoris replacing Kisner is an easy call, if Z’s back injury doesn’t derail him. Billy Horschel is a marginal candidate going forward and given Cam Young’s putting problems, maybe he gets beaten out by a Daniel Berger or Sahith Theegala heater. But otherwise the core of this U.S. team looks locked and loaded.

Is Spieth back? @mickelsonesque

Oh, gawd, the perennial question. It’s so fascinating because it is unanswerable. Jordan’s genius ebbs and flows like the tide. Just enjoy what was a transcendent week! He will undoubtedly be lost in the wilderness soon enough. It is this eternal search that makes the Spieth experience so fun and maddening.

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9 thoughts on “#AskAlan, Presidents Cup Edition”

  1. Tom Kim like Cam Smith before him, earned opportunities from playing well on the Asian tour. Now this pathway has been closed by the cartel running the OWGR. How will this impact the competitiveness of future President Cups?

  2. Trent, might want to check your facts on the Asian Tour…..players on that Tour get points, just not at the level of PGA or DP World Tour events because of strength of fields and purses. Asian Tour points are the same as the Korn Ferry Tour, which one could argue has a stronger depth of field than the Asian Tour as shown by the performance of so many graduates of that Tour. Whether you like the way the OWGR is determined or not, they follow their published rules and make significant changes to their criteria over time, for example in 1989, 96, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2012….all before every Tour used OWGR. There are 23 Tours Worldwide that get OWGR and Tom Kim got points from the Korean Tour, Asian Development Tour, Asian Tour and got enough OWGR to qualify for the Korn Ferry Q School which he didn’t pass but did get in the Scottish Open where his career took off. Seems to me that is how the OWGR is supposed to work. And both players you cite are examples of in order for a Tour to qualify for OWGR there must be a way to qualify for individual tournaments and have a Q school…..I don’t believe LIV has either so why again should LIV players get OWGR? What is it about LIV that the OWGR should drop nearly all, if not all, of their criteria for Tour participants to get OWGR? Call it a cartel or perhaps call it having published rules and following them….seems to me every April 15 you have to follow published rules whether you like them or not. Just saying.

  3. I thought about the “what if LIV guys were there” question, but not sure ot would have made any difference.

    Without the LIV thing, INT probably adds Cam, Niemann & Ancer and they likely replace Pendrith (0-4-0 yay for them) but lose SiWoo and Davis. (5-4-0 oops)

    USA replace Kisner, Horschel & Young (2-6-2) with DJ, Gooch & Bryson.

    USA probably benefits as much or more.

  4. Years ago the American players complained that everyone made 💰 except the golfers on these team competitions. Does anyone know their current compensation? I noticed a surprising number of Rolex’s, who happened to be a sponsor.

  5. I’m a huge golf fan but didn’t watch a single shot from the President’s Cup. It is a bad product (total mismatch) and I don’t think golf fans were overly interested. Certainly,
    lIV golfers had no FOMO on this event but I do think the Ryder Cup will be a different story.
    JT asking for a gimme – horrible look.

  6. “They can serve their country honorably by making par, not war” is the best line I’ve read in any golf article this year. Shipnuck brilliance!

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