Presidents Cup 2022: Given its unique format, team golf excels at entertainment even in blowouts.

The aftermath of the 2022 Presidents Cup will not produce the tear-jerking essays or over-the-top hyperbole about the future that the Ryder Cup produced last year, but an event that resulted in the United States’ ninth consecutive victory was still a massive success. If one only looked at the Presidents Cup’s Wikipedia page, it would be easy to dismiss the event as a flop; however, this would completely ignore the unique setup of team events and why they are so entertaining.

After covering Ryder Cups, Solheim Cups, and Presidents Cups for the past ten years, it became clear that even most (not all, but most) blowouts at these team competitions feel close until the end. They also appear to always include bizarre moments that will inevitably occur before their conclusion.

According to Data Golf, the international team’s chances of winning the Presidents Cup increased from 3% to 3.6% on Saturday afternoon of this year’s Presidents Cup, just after Tom Kim poured in the putt of the week to cap off the best day of his career.And yet, because of what happened in the 2012 Ryder Cup, because it felt like Kim couldn’t lose, and because we like to believe in sports miracles, it felt a lot closer than that.

Let’s fast forward to Sunday. Despite singles points from Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay in routes, Justin Thomas was on the ropes against Si Woo Kim, and there was a swath of black and gold on the board as the afternoon progressed. It felt like the Internationals were truly on the verge of winning 8.5 points in singles, their first event of the century.

According to Data Golf, the Americans’ chances of winning never fell below 89% and stayed mostly in the 90s. Even the International team winning 8.5 points in 12 matches against 12 players ranked in the top 25 in the world proved to be a difficult task.

This is where you yell about how events aren’t played out on paper. While this is correct, probability models also serve as a reality check for our emotions. Unlike us, they project based on skill and math rather than momentum, feeling, or how many times Si Woo has fist pumped J.T.’s soul.While the intangibles of sports appear to influence a plethora of games and events we’ve witnessed over the years, we undervalue the tangibles – what matters most – primarily because we want to believe.

This is where the genius of team golf scheduling comes into play. You can persuade yourself that a particular match will flip or that certain events will occur in other ways. If you ignored reality – and I almost always do during events like this – then the event was quite exciting. This is because team events are designed to become more volatile in terms of point distribution. Almost half of the points available at a team event are in play over a five-hour period on Sunday afternoon, and the rest of the week seems to build up to that point.

As long as you don’t get a true rout, which does happen occasionally, hope almost always lasts longer than it should. You can talk yourself into a five-point victory (considered a blowout in team competitions like this one). That can be both lovely and tragic.

“You know, we were in a tough spot-on Friday this week,” said international captain Trevor Immelman. “It took a lot of guts for us to fight back.” I don’t know about you, but I thought there was still a chance this afternoon at some point.

And, considering we were 8-2 down on Friday evening, this team is no joke, and I’m sick and tired of hearing it described as such.

“We love this event, and we love our team, and we can’t wait to run it again and try again.”

This week, there was a lot of talk about how the Presidents Cup format and setup should be changed. Infinite possibilities were floated as possible “solutions” to an event dominated by the United States. Though I could be persuaded to participate in a mixed team event, the Presidents Cup is enjoyable and beneficial because the setup is flawless.

As long as the international team maintains the level of competitiveness shown in the previous four Cups, the structure of events like this one does the majority of the heavy lifting.

And if you’re a statistician or data nerd who can’t shake the feeling that this Presidents Cup (like many others) was never truly in doubt, there’s good news for you as well. The tide appears to have turned in the International team room in terms of continuity and galvanization. They simply need to plug in some future stars, as the United States did in the past.

“It still hurts not to win,” Adam Scott said. “I think the biggest difference I’ve noticed in the last couple of years is what’s going on in our team room, what’s going on between the captains and the players, the caddies, and everyone on our team.” I believe that good things are beginning to happen in that environment.