Presidents Cup 2011: Who Needs to Step Up to Ensure a USA Victory?

John FrielAnalyst INovember 17, 2011

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 17: Phil Mickelson of the U.S. Team and caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay stand on the 11th tee during the Day One Foursome Matches of the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course on November 17, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The United States have once again asserted their authority in a sport with golf being one of the country's better games.

If you judge their performance in matchups with the rest of the world in the Presidents Cup, you'd think so too, as they have won four of the past five meetings with a 17-all tie being the only time it didn't end up in a win.

The international team has only won once in this event and that came in 1998 when they won by a huge margin by a score of 21.5 to 10.5.

The Americans currently hold a 4-2 lead and they're going to have to continue playing at their peak potential if they want to take down an International squad that features Ernie Els, K.J. Choi and Geoff Ogilvy among others.

They're going to need a few key Americans to step it up to help ensure a fourth consecutive United States victory in this event.


Phil Mickelson

The world's favorite left-handed golfer, Phil Mickelson is making his ninth Presidents Cup appearance and has already made a positive impact on the squad with a win over Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby that was supported by teammate Jim Furyk.

With Tiger Woods only making the team by way of a Captains' pick by Fred Couples, it's obvious that the leadership has fallen into the hands of Mickelson. Woods has put on some of his best performances in this competition, including a 5-0-0 record in the 2009 Presidents Cup, but now finds himself not even as one of the automatic qualifiers.

The time for Mickelson make his impression felt as the team leader will be needed now as the Americans look to the top player for possible guidance.


Jim Furyk

Much like Mickelson, Jim Furyk will also be playing a much larger role in this competition now that Tiger Woods has hit a rough patch that he may never dig himself out of.

This is Furyk's seventh Presidents Cup; he and Phil Mickelson will look to be the dynamic duo of this particular competition.

The two have already played in a pairing together and have come out with an opening day win. The 4 & 3 win he and Mickelson had over Goosen and Allenby was one of the most impressive of the day as they finished four up over a solid pairing from the International squad.

Furyk has always been one of golf's most consistent players and the United States needs him now to step up and help them secure another victory.


Tiger Woods

If he wants to begin playing the golf that Tiger Woods was playing only a few years ago, now would be the time.

Woods has failed to win a competition in over a year and has barely been any sort of competition over the past few months. He's already gotten off to a dismal start in this Presidents Cup with an embarrassing 7 & 6 loss to K.J. Choi and Adam Scott while being paired up with Steve Stricker.

The two usually solid golfers lost seven up and had failed to record anything better than par in the 12 holes that they played.

This might be one of the lowest points of Woods' career as he's not only coming off of an excellent 2009 Presidents Cup where he won all five of his matchups, but he was a Captains' choice and is failing to prove Mickelson right.

Woods is going to need to step it up greatly over the next few matches if he wants to help the Americans secure a victory. The first matchup was an abysmal showing by Woods and Stricker, but Woods carries more significance here as this is his seventh appearance as well, and the team is looking to him as a leader.