Presidents Cup: USA To Dominate In Melbourne7 min read
The United States, led by Tiger Woods, will defend the Presidents Cup this week in Australia against the Internationals. This team competition lacks the rivalry and intensity of the Ryder Cup but the hosts will be desperate to win the Presidents Cup for just the second time.
Royal Melbourne is the venue and the firm and fiery sandbelt course is likely to provide a major test for the players, with breezy conditions increasing the challenge.
The Internationals’ sole victory came at Royal Melbourne in 1998, although it has since hosted the competition again with America claiming a 19-15 win eight years ago.
Americans to prove too strong again
USA have been the dominant force in the Presidents Cup and the visitors should prove too strong once again in Australia.
Ten of the 12 Presidents Cup have been won by USA, including the last seven editions. This underlines the size of the task facing the Internationals and America have the quality and depth to keep the trophy.
USA romped to a 19-11 win two years ago in New Jersey and another comfortable victory is likely in Melbourne.
Woods captains America and the Masters champion also selected himself as one of the wildcard picks.
Woods is unlikely to play all of the matches though and can rely on a strong team that found no room for the likes of major champions Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson.
The Internationals have always struggled to unite their global team in the way Europe have so successfully in the Ryder Cup.
Captain Ernie Els faces a big task this week and will be reliant on home players Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and debutant Cameron Smith to lead their challenge.
There is no appeal to back the outsiders and it is worth supporting the USA although the odds are obviously unattractive in this market.
Looking at the correct score, it is worth putting a couple of bets on America winning with something to spare.
Thomas to lead USA to victory
The best bet arguably comes in the top combined scorer market. With America a confident selection, it is worth picking a player from their team and Justin Thomas has a huge opportunity to lead them to victory.
With Brooks Koepka injured, Thomas is the highest-ranked player in the event and the world number four looks close to the top of his game. Almost guaranteed to play in all five matches, Thomas should be a major cog in America’s triumph.
Dustin Johnson is an injury doubt after not competing since having knee surgery in September. Likely to be used sparingly, it suggests Thomas will be their main focal point and a potential partnership with Woods has the hallmarks of a successful team.
Thomas won the CJ Cup in October and the 26-year-old played well last week when fifth at the Hero World Challenge. He made an impressive Presidents Cup debut two years ago, winning 3.5 points from his five matches.
Thomas built on this at last year’s Ryder Cup, top scoring for the USA with four points during the defeat in France. Thomas has immensely strong credentials this week and should be backed at 13/2 each way.
Oosthuizen to star for the Internationals
Louis Oosthuizen has performed well during the Presidents Cup and the South African is fancied to finish as the Internationals’ top scorer in Melbourne.
Oosthuizen is one of the most experienced players in their team and will have a major role to play if they are to pull off an upset.
Significantly, the 2010 Open champion has the best Presidents Cup record for the Internationals competing this week. With 8.5 points from a possible 15, Oosthuizen has delivered consistently in the event and looks poised for another big week.
Oosthuizen has spent more time in the country preparing and looked in excellent shape last week after finishing runner-up in the Australian Open. It followed on from an impressive run of form which includes third at the HSBC Champions and sixth at the Nedbank Challenge over the last six weeks.
Oosthuizen is extremely comfortable in Australia, as he proved three years ago winning the Perth International. A near certainty to play all five matches for the Internationals, Oosthuizen rates a strong bet at 6/1 to top score for the hosts at Royal Melbourne.
USA to win 17-13
USA to win 16.5-13.5
Justin Thomas to be top combined points scorer Each Way
Louis Oosthuizen to be top international points scorer Each Way