From A+ (Tiger! Sungjae!) to F (Reed!), we grade all 24 Presidents Cup players — and the captains

December 15, 2019

What a Presidents Cup! The grades are in…


Tiger Woods (player): A+
What a thrill it was to watch two GOATs tangle — Woods and the good Dr. Alister MacKenzie, each highlighting the artistry of the other. Would’ve loved to have enjoyed Tiger for at least one other match but he gave us everything he had.

Justin Thomas: A
He solidified his standing as the heart and soul of the U.S. team and Tiger’s BFF … not a bad week.

Patrick Cantlay: A-
Says a lot about how his game is viewed that Woods sent the rookie out for five matches, and Cantlay rewarded the faith with 3 big points … and two memorable F-bombs.

Rickie Fowler: A- 
A sneaky-undefeated week for the captain’s pick as he went 1-0-3, including some very clutch play in the second-to-last singles match.

Xander Schauffele: A-
His star continues to rise. X-Man’s three wins were crucial to the U.S., and taking down hometown hero Adam Scott in the 8th singles match was monumental.

Matt Kuchar: B+
He was quite ordinary in going 0-1-2 in partner play, but in singles, when the Cup suddenly hinged on his match, Kuch delivered. Respect.

Dustin Johnson: B-
The second-highest ranked American was so bad in two opening losses, he got benched by Capt. Woods, but DJ rallied to win two matches, including a decisive singles victory while batting cleanup which helped key the U.S. comeback.

Tony Finau: C+
The gentle giant brought home 1.5 points the hard way by going 0-1-3, but his halve in the second singles match, versus Hideki Matsuyama, was crucial as Big Tony fought back from being 4-down at the turn.

Gary Woodland: C+
Lotsa fouls balls from the U.S. Open champ en route to going 1-2-1, but his comeback in Day 2 Foursomes (alongside Fowler) to steal a half-point was a big momentum turn that’s now easy to forget.

Webb Simpson: C
Poor guy had the misfortune of having to be Patrick Reed’s wet nurse for three straight matches, all dispiriting losses. But finally allowed to do his own thing in singles, Webb secured a crucial point.

Bryson DeChambeau: C-
After getting benched for all of Day 2 *and* Day 3 he pulled out a hard-fought halve in singles. Bonus points for the good cheer Bryson showed wading into the crowd, helping to rehabilitate the image of a U.S. team that did little else to endear themselves.

Patrick Reed: F+
A victory in singles doesn’t wash away all the poor play and bad mojo that preceded. The one-time Capt. America (lolz) proved yet again that dysfunctional people make for bad teammates. Reed better play his way way onto every future American team because it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever be gifted another captain’s pick ever again.

Captain Woods: B-
He couldn’t have known his pick Reed would become embroiled in a cheating scandal the week before the Cup, but choosing him was always a monumental gamble, and Reed cast a pall over the whole event. And Woods the captain benching his hottest player (Woods) on Day 3 was a buzz-kill and eminently second-guessable. Otherwise, Tiger pushed all the right buttons.


Sungjae Im: A+
The PGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year went 3-0-1 in his Cup debut, displaying a dazzling amount of game. Will be a cornerstone of this team for a long, long time.

Abraham Ancer: A
What a gritty showing from the Cup rookie. Gotta love his fight.

Hideki Matsuyama: B
He played some stellar golf in going 2-1-1, but letting Finau claw back and steal that halve in singles was a killer.

Cameron Smith: B
He played the dragon (JT) in singles, one of only two Internationals to bring home a full point in the session. Bonus points for being Reed’s most vociferous critic among the players.

C.T. Pan: B
He got run over in singles by a semi-psycho Reed but went 2-0 in partner play. A very strong debut for an unsung talent.

Adam Scott: B-
He secured 2.5 points in his first three go-arounds but seemed to run out of gas after that, losing his final two matches. To be 4-down after 7 holes in singles was nightmarish stuff.

Byeong Hun An: B-
Seemed like he was always at the center of the action while going 1-2-2. The kid has some guts but he missed a couple of must-make putts.

Adam Hadwin: B-
He played some solid golf but will spend the rest of days thinking about the putt on 18 that could’ve won his singles match against Bryson.

Louis Oosthuizen: C
His two early victories in partner play helped set the tone for the International uprising, but blowing a 3-up lead at the turn to Kuchar in singles was a killer.

Marc Leishman: C-
He showed some needed leadership in securing 1.5 points in partner play, but by letting Rickie turn the tide in the final singles match he helped torpedo the Internationals.

Joaquin Niemann: D-
He was well-positioned to be the Internationals’ secret weapon but looked pretty overwhelmed in going 0-3-1.

Haotong Li: F
No wonder he played the bare minimum of two matches … losing both.

Captain Ernie Els: B+
His team had a palpable cohesiveness and his top-secret Moneyball approach to the pairings seems to have paid dividends. Keeping the Cup close and making it entertaining is a major moral victory.

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