August 24, 2015 / 10:50 PM / in 2 years

Fewer points on offer at Presidents Cup in format change

(Reuters) - Format changes including fewer points will be introduced to the Presidents Cup later this year in South Korea, bringing it more in line with the Ryder Cup, the PGA Tour announced on Monday.

The total number of points on offer at the biennial team competition will be reduced from 34 to 30 and each player will be required to take part in only two of the first four sessions, as opposed to three of four in the past.

The number of matches on each of the first two days will be reduced from six to five and on Saturday, the third day, four four-ball and four foursome matches will be played instead of the previous five and five.

In other changes, matches that are all square after 18 holes will be halved, instead of going into extra holes as before, and the order of the match format on Thursday and Friday will be decided by the host team’s captain.

“...the International team has been advocating for a reduction in total points while the U.S. team felt strongly that the Presidents Cup format should remain as it has been,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

”After numerous meetings and discussions, it was apparent that both captains felt passionate about their respective positions, as did their potential team members.

“But with no clear consensus between the two sides, it was up to me to make a decision that would be best for the event overall.”

International captain Nick Price, whose 12-man team will take on holders the United States at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon from Oct. 8-11, has long argued for a reduction in team matches to aid competitive balance.

In Price’s opinion, fewer points give the stronger team less of an advantage as the weakest players do not compete as often, and he believes this would help the Internationals improve a dismal record of just one win against the U.S. in 10 editions.

”It’s such a huge difference,“ Price told Reuters earlier this month when he contrasted the Presidents Cup with the long established Ryder Cup. ”I don’t think the Ryder Cup would have been as successful if they had had the Presidents Cup format.

“Those 22 points in the (Presidents Cup) team matches make it very easy for one team to get so far ahead that it takes all the excitement out of the Sunday singles.”

A total of 34 points had previously been on offer at the Presidents Cup, which pits a team from the U.S. against a line-up of international players from outside Europe, while 28 points are available at the Ryder Cup, where the U.S. take on Europe.

“Our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the Presidents Cup is as strong as it can be and contested in a manner that preserves those aspects of the Presidents Cup that have differentiated the event over the past 20 years,” said Finchem.

Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine

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