Over the last two decades, the Presidents Cup has been unable to get the solid foothold every other fall like the Ryder Cup. Due in large part to the relative noncompetitive nature of the event so far, the Presidents Cup has far less hype and interest than the team competition between the USA and Europe.
In 2013, the 12-man American team rolled over the Internationals once again. Unlike their battles with Europe, the U.S. team often dominates the different two-man formats (Four-ball and Foursomes) in the Presidents Cup. And this year was no different, as Fred Couples' group made it a laugher by the time Sunday singles rolled around.
But that didn't make the four-day event at Muirfield Village, the home of Jack Nicklaus, any less eventful. These team competitions create such a different environment for the players, who often grind it out on their own and keep most of their peers at a distance all year. The American team, in particular, is extremely loose during Presidents Cup week, thanks in large part to their dominance over the International side. The pressure gets all the way turned up at the Ryder Cup, where the Euros have generally overwhelmed the Americans in the team format.
The 2013 edition became a bit of a dud on the course, as rain pelted the Columbus-area layout all four days and aside from a sudden International burst in singles, it was never close enough to make the Americans nervous. While the golf was start-and-stop and never really nailbiting, there were certainly plenty of sideshows that made the week memorable.
It started early in the week with Tiger Woods, who may have found his new partner for these team competitions in Matt Kuchar. Woods has always had trouble finding a partner in these events, and it has contributed to his overall poor record and the public perception of his substandard play, specifically at the Ryder Cup. After some recent struggles with partner Steve Stricker, Couples made the switch to Kuchar and the two cruised. Their little Fresh Prince homage, however, didn't make it out of the first session but it was an admirable, if dorky, attempt to liven things up:
I think Tiger got word of the just how… awkward … the maneuver looked, and that was it for the wild! and crazy! golf celebration. But we'll always have those images and gifs from that first match.
But the most captivating sequence coming out of the week at Muirfield had nothing to do with golf, but rather with the local wildlife. On Thursday, assistant captain Davis Love III was seen with what appeared to be a small squirrel perched on his shoulder.
The Golf Channel-NBC broadcast team was initially confused, but further investigative work on the ground revealed that DLIII had, indeed, adopted a baby squirrel, which was found helpless and surrounded by curious patrons. Over the next 24 hours, "Sammy" as he came to be known to millions, lived the life of a king. He sat perched on Love's expensive watch while riding around in a golf cart. He was fawned over by the wives and girlfriends of Team USA. He hung out on the shoulder of the richest and most famous athlete in the world, and was cradled by that athlete's gold-medal Olympian girlfriend.
And he got to spend time in his comfy new box while in the U.S. team room, with America's best 12 golfers. All in all, it wasn't a bad day for the baby Sammy, who became an instant global celebrity before Love returned him home.
By the weekend, the rainy weather had stunted any momentum the event hoped to get for an interesting Sunday finish. Team USA continued their nerdy golf celebrations, most notably Phil and Keegan, but the final two days trudged along on an extremely soggy Muirfield. Thankfully, those rainy conditions resulted in a GIF of Amy Mickelson having to push a cart up a hill through the mud, with Vonn riding comfortably.
Finally, an anticlimactic tape-delayed Sunday singles session was moderately redeemed when the good people of central Ohio delivered the first golf streaker we've seen in the States in quite some time. It was the perfect punctuation to a weird week:
Here's hoping the actual golf gets a little more competitive by 2015 in Korea. But the week at Muirfield Village, entertaining in several golf and non-golf ways, was absolutely one of the top stories of the year.
See you at the Ryder Cup next year, guys.
Ain't nobody as fresh as my clique... pic.twitter.com/eAMBpM1hP9— Jason Dufner (@JasonDufner) October 8, 2013