[PHOTO: Streeter Lecka]

It’s hardly a secret how lopsided the Presidents Cup has become since its inception 30 years ago. Other than a victory in Melbourne in 1998 and a tie in South Africa in 2003, the International team has struggled, though it’s worth noting that the past two held outside the USA – in South Korea in 2015 and at Royal Melbourne in 2019 – were nailbiters for the US team.

US captain Jim Furyk, who has played in the Presidents Cup seven times, understands how important it is for the matches to be more competitive. But that understanding comes with a caveat.

“I think 30-40 years from now, if there’s some parity that would be awesome,” he said overnight during a video press conference.

In other words, he doesn’t want to join Jack Nicklaus as the only American captains to be on the losing end in the biennial matches. Then, too, Furyk doesn’t want to join the Golden Bear in having lost a Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup (in 1987) as captain, though Nicklaus’ captaincy record also includes a win in the 1983 Ryder Cup and two wins and that tie in ’03 in the Presidents Cup.

So, yeah, Furyk, whose 2018 Ryder Cup team lost to Europe in Paris, sure doesn’t want to see the International team end its losing streak on his watch.

The 15th Presidents Cup begins on September 26 at Royal Montreal Golf Club in Quebec. Royal Montreal also was the site of the 2007 Presidents Cup, where the American team, captained one last time by Nicklaus, won 19½-14½. Furyk went 3-2-0 in that Presidents Cup while former Masters champion Mike Weir, who captains the International team this year, was 3-1-1 as one of Gary Player’s captain’s picks, including a singles victory over Tiger Woods.

“I’ll say this, the International team has done a good job,” Furyk said, referring to more recent editions of the matches. “No slight to any of the captains of the past, but I think really, Ernie [Els] kind of got the ball rolling [in 2019] trying to kind of bring different corners of the world together for one week every two years.

“The matches have gotten a lot closer and a lot tighter. I know they’re hungry.”

A two-time winner of the Canadian Open, in 2006 and ’07, Furyk is under no illusions how difficult the task will be this year, though he’s hoping his team will be hungry after another disappointing loss in the Ryder Cup last year in Rome, where he served as a vice-captain under Zach Johnson. Then there is the matter of having to “butt heads” with Weir, whom he referred to as “the Tiger Woods of Canada”.

There’s a lot of pride riding on this Presidents Cup.

“We know the record, and they want to change that and, you know, the US doesn’t want to let go, right?” Furyk said. “We like the roll we’re on, and we want to keep that momentum rolling.”