Friday, September 28, 2007
Call it the Emperor's Cup
This week's playing of the 7th President's Cup has me glued to televised golf for the last time for the next two and a half months. That of course is the amount of time Tiger plans on taking off once the event is over, and I think I'll do the same.
It also got me thinking about what it would be like if we could actually have one of the these biennial team golf events that actually features the best players from everywhere around the world.
For those of you that don't know, the President's Cup features an "international" team consisting of all the best players from countries outside of the United States and Europe. Meanwhile the more popular and more contentious Ryder Cup is the U.S. vs. the best that Europe has to offer.
Now that's all well and good, but wouldn't it be great if we could combine the two Cups into one "us against the world" slugfest? It's a pipe dream, but something that I think would be great for golf.
The Emperor's Cup, as we're going to call it, would consist of two teams of 16 players each. The other Cups have 12 man teams, but with the expanded list of players to choose from, 16 seems like a better number.
The selection of the teams would be based solely on the World Golf Rankings which takes into account a players performance over two years. This is would be a point of contention for some who would rather see the hottest players play, but this is my Cup and I think there should be a reward for playing well over a longer stretch of time.
If this uber-Cup were to be played today the teams would look like this:
United States: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink, Scott Verplank, Aaron Oberholser (if healthy), David Toms, Brett Wetterich, Woody Austin, Charles Howell III, Mark Calcavecchia, Boo Weekley, Hunter Mahan, David Love III
World Team: Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington, Rory Sabbatini, Sergio Garcia, K.J. Choi, Geoff Ogilvy, Vijay Singh, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Henrik Stenson, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Angel Cabrera, Aaron Baddeley, Niclas Fasth
I'll admit, I wouldn't want any part of that World Team which is absolutely stacked, but the U.S. team wouldn't exactly be soft. With the rosters expanded to 16 it would allow for veteran players like Calcavecchia and Love to perhaps bring that experience "x-factor" to the table.
The scoring and format would pretty much stay the same, with one major exception. In the Emperor's Cup there would be eight foursome matches on day one, eight four-ball matches on day two. However instead of another day of team matches there would be instead eight singles matches on day three and finally eight more singles matches on the final day.
That would make for 32 total points available, with 16 1/2 points necessary to take home the cup. The format would also not allow teams to "hide" players like they do in those other Cups because everyone plays three total matches no matter what.
The decision to hold half of the singles matches on day three in my mind would do a few things. For one it would bring another major tactical element into play for the team captains. If you're behind heading into day three you might want to get your big guns out there to make up the ground and avoid suffering an early defeat.
On the other hand if you have a lead heading into day three you might want to set things up so your weakest guys go first. Of course you could employ the opposite strategy and let your team's best get out there and end the thing.
Another reason for starting singles play earlier is, despite the fact that team play is fun to watch, golf is an individual game and a one-on-one battle is always going to be the most exciting form of match play.
Lastly, the other Cups use a 6/6/10/12 match-per-day format which means some of the early action on days three and four goes unseen on television with the matches starting early. With eight singles matches on days three and four respectively, all the matches can be shown each day without a problem.
I can just envision a comeback on day three by the U.S. Team where they square the point total at 12 apiece, setting up a Sunday showdown between 16 of the world's best players. Tiger vs. Ernie, Phil vs. Sergio, it would be beautiful.
So if anyone has Tim Finchem's cell phone number and wants to send it to me I'd be more than willing to propose my idea. Oh, and I suppose I could run it by Tiger too.
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