The PGA Tour has had an interesting year to say the least, and gathering for the Presidents Cup at least brings a sense of normalcy to what is frequently a one-sided affair. Defections to LIV Golf have depleted both sides of the event, though undoubtedly the biggest hole on the International side is World No. 3 Cameron Smith. The Aussie has blossomed into an elite player and major champion, and in 2019, he stood tall against Justin Thomas in Sunday singles to keep the upset hopes alive.
The U.S. are huge favorites this year at -700 to retain the Cup, and it's hard to argue the talent disparity. The American side has historically dominated the Presidents Cup and boasts a 11-1-1 record. On this year's squad, all 12 team members are inside the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking, compared to just 3 for the International Team.
The event will be held at Quail Hollow Club, the annual site of the Wells Fargo Championship and host of the 2017 PGA Championship. Thomas was victorious that year, and a firm and fast course would conceivably favor the big-hitting Americans.
In addition to the outright team championship, we can bet on the total points scorer, day-by-day results, and, when the matchups are revealed, individual match contests. Even without the matchups available yet, we can identify which golfers we'll want to key in on and which ones we'll want to fade or take on head-to-head.
The U.S. has a major talent advantage and fits the course better. But for all that's being made of the talent disparity, the divide was not much different in 2019 and the Internationals almost pulled off the upset.
That being said, the experience gap is the bigger concern. Eight of the International Team are first-time Presidents Cup participants, and the variety of languages and nationalities is undoubtedly a disadvantage in fourballs and foursomes, compared to longstanding relationships among the U.S. Team.
The case for an upset is a matter of focus. The U.S. Team is dominant at the event and a similar squad walked over a far more talented European Team at last year's Ryder Cup. The chance for the Internationals will have to come early, and if they can build a lead, they could temper some of the U.S. team's confidence. Captain Trevor Immelman can play up the underdog card along with the camaraderie forged in the wake of the LIV departures from key team members
As far as the course goes, Quail Hollow is a tough test for everyone. The Americans' length is a surefire edge, but if the course plays firm and fast enough, those big drives could land in sticky rough or in between clubs. The International game plan must be to keep the ball in the fairway and take advantage of any unforced errors by the U.S. Will that be enough?
Probably not. The U.S. is just too much to hold back. With all-world golfers and major champions throughout the American squad on top of a home-course advantage, the U.S. deserves to be a huge favorite.
The Pick: United States -700 is the clear choice, but with odds like that, we'll stay away and focus on other markets.
Points Scorer Props
Justin Thomas (+1000 to be Top Combined Points Scorer) - If we are backing the American side, the total points scorer will need to come from that team to remain consistent with our predictions. Thomas stands out in this market given his elite approach play and history at Quail Hollow. Thomas should feature in all sessions and has good relationships across the team, so he can fit with any style of play given not just his iron work but also his short game.
Kevin Kisner (+1800 to be Top Wildcard Points Scorer) - The auto-qualifiers are significantly shorter in the combined market, but given the expected opportunity, the wildcards are hard to back there. Here, we can get a piece of Kisner, who has a solid match-play record and takes these team event opportunities about as seriously as anyone. If the event turns into a blowout, he could steal a spot in a session to give one of the top guys a break.
Joohyung Kim (+220 to be Top Korean Points Scorer) - Kim has burst onto the scene and catapulted all the way to No. 22 in the world at just 20 years old. He started his season with a win at The Singapore International and ended with another victory at the Wyndham Championship. Seven more top-seven finishes worldwide in between, including two runner-ups, give Kim as good a resume as anyone on the International team. Here in a market of four, he trails only Sungjae Im (+195), and I'll grab the young gun for an extra couple points.