The Presidents Cup: USA vs. International Golf Match

The Presidents Cup Trophy with the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the backdrop
The Presidents Cup Trophy had the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a backdrop when the tournament was played in Australia. Matt King/Getty Images for The Presidents Cup

The Presidents Cup is played every two years, in odd-numbered years, and pits the United States team against the International team. The International team is comprised of golfers from outside the U.S. and Europe. The Presidents Cup is run by the PGA Tour. The location alternates between golf courses in the United States and those in international locations.

The Presidents Cup was first played in 1994, created by the PGA Tour as a showcase event for tour players. It was modeled in part after the Ryder Cup, which pits Team USA against Team Europe. Many PGA Tour players are not from either continent, however, and the Presidents Cup was created, in part, to give those golfers (those from Asia, Australia, Canada, etc.) a chance to play in a high-profile team format.

The scoring format is match play.

2019 Presidents Cup

This will be the third time that Royal Melbourne has served as tournament site. It previously hosted in 1998 and 2011, and 1998 is the only Presidents Cup, so far, won by the International side.

Team Rosters

  • United States: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods
  • International: Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Li Haotong, Cheng-tsung Pan, Cameron Smith, Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann

Presidents Cup Format

The Presidents Cup format involves four days of play, using foursomes, fourball and singles match play, with 30 matches total taking place:

  • Day 1: Five foursomes or five fourball matches. The home team captain decides which format is in use.
  • Day 2: Five matches of either foursomes or fourball, whichever format was not played on Day 1.
  • Day 3: Four four-ball matches and four foursomes matches, one format played in a morning session and the other in the afternoon session.
  • Day 4: Twelve singles matches wrap up the Presidents Cup schedule.

Each match is worth one point to the winning side. If a fourball or foursomes match is all square after 18 holes, the match is halved and a half-point is given to each side. At the end of the competition, a team must have earned 15.5 points (out of 30 available) or more to win the cup.

Presidents Cup Results: Final Scores

  • 2017: USA 19, International 11
  • 2015: USA 15.5, International 14.5
  • 2013: USA 18.5, International 15.5
  • 2011: USA 19, International 15
  • 2009: USA 19.5, International 14.5
  • 2007: USA 19.5, International 14.5
  • 2005: USA 18.5, International 15.5
  • 2003: International 17, USA 17, tie
  • 2000: USA 21.5, International 10.5
  • 1998: International 20.5, U.S. 11.5
  • 1996: USA 16.5, International 15.5
  • 1994: USA 20, International 12

Presidents Cup Team Captains

For each year, the International team captain is listed first, the USA captain second:

  • 2019: Ernie Els - Tiger Woods
  • 2017: Nick Price - Steve Stricker
  • 2015: Nick Price - Jay Haas
  • 2013: Nick Price - Fred Couples
  • 2011: Greg Norman - Fred Couples
  • 2009: Greg Norman - Fred Couples
  • 2007: Gary Player - Jack Nicklaus
  • 2005: Gary Player - Jack Nicklaus
  • 2003: Gary Player - Jack Nicklaus
  • 2000: Peter Thomson - Ken Venturi
  • 1998: Peter Thomson - Jack Nicklaus
  • 1996: Peter Thomson - Arnold Palmer
  • 1994: David Graham - Hale Irwin

How Golfers are Selected for Presidents Cup Teams

Both teams in the Presidents Cup are automatically filled by eight golfers from the teams' respective point lists, with another four players per side chosen by the respective team captains. Team USA's automatic qualifiers are based on FedEx Cup points; the International side's automatic qualifiers are chosen based on world ranking points. See the Team USA points or International points lists for the current player rankings.

What Happens If the Teams are Tied at End of Play

If the International and USA teams finish a Presidents Cup tied, with the same amount of points, then the two teams share the Presidents Cup until the next competition. Unlike at the Ryder Cup, the team that held the cup entering does not retain it. The teams share ownership of the cup until the next tournament.

This precedent was established in 2003 when the teams finished tied. At that time, however, a tiebreaker was called for. After three holes of sudden-death play between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els to settle the tie, darkness halted play. Team captains Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus then agreed to call the match a tie and the teams co-champions.

Future Sites of the Presidents Cup

  • 2019: Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia
  • 2021: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • 2023: TBA
  • 2025: Harding Park, San Francisco, Calif.