The 2017 Presidents Cup tees off on Thursday at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., pitting 12 of the best golfers from the U.S. against 12 of the best from around the world, except Europe.
This will be just the 12th playing of these bienniel matches and with the lopsided 9-1-1 record the Americans enjoy, it currently lacks the history and prestige of the Ryder Cup, which has been around since 1927.
That said, there are things that can come out of the Presidents Cup that are sure to be helpful for Captain Jim Furyk's 2018 Ryder Cup team a year from now in Paris.
Here are five ways in which the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup team can help the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
5. The bonding. Sometimes people laugh about this, but it's important. On a weekly basis, they're used to playing as individuals. Getting to better know a group of people, becoming friends and caring about them on a personal level creates a bond. With a bond, you become invested in those people. It's got to take a little pressure off in a team competition when your partner is a friend.
4. Younger players can establish a voice behind the scenes. Let's face it, golf has gotten much younger. Three of this season's four major winners are in their 20s. On this U.S. Presidents Cup team, six of the 12 members are 20-somethings. Getting a team competition under their belts for guys who haven't been in one before on the professional stage -- Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger -- will be invaluable for the next Ryder Cup and Ryder Cups to come. They'll feel as though they belong on the team and won't be afraid to speak up when need be.
3. Preparation on the big stage. Players through the years have said there's nothing like representing your country in a team competition. There are countless stories of players who have had to snap themselves out of a numb state to pull it together on the first tee of a huge team competition. While nothing quite compares to the Ryder Cup, a Presidents Cup is a chance to experience some of those feelings and tuck them away in the memory bank.
2. Repeat pairings. This is a big one. The pairing of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed has become for the U.S. what the pairing of Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal was for so many years at the Ryder Cup. The Presidents Cup is a chance to see pairings that might work and pairings that might not. Obviously there's no guarantee that all 12 players will be the same in a year's time, but it is likely that more than half the players will be the same.
1. Continuity of leadership. This is an element that had been missing for so long on the U.S. side. We're finally seeing these team competitions where the captains and assistant captains are the same at several competitions. At the 2016 Ryder Cup, Davis Love III was the U.S. captain. His assistants were Tiger Woods, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson. This week at the Presidents Cup, Stricker is the captain and has Furyk, Woods, Love and Fred Couples along to assist. Furyk will be the 2018 Ryder Cup captain and you can be certain some of those names already listed will assist him in Paris.
With this continuity in leadership, there are very few surprises. Everyone is on the same page, potential players know who to seek out for questions/concerns and many of them have already established a relationship with these recent captains and assistants as pairs on the PGA Tour. There won't be any surprises in style.
These U.S. teams in both the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup are in as good a place as they've been in years. And with all the young, U.S. talent out there, it's more than reasonable to assume the U.S. has set itself up to be a force in these matches for years to come.