What Is the Difference Between the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup?

There are two premier international competitions in professional golf: the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. Both events feature a team of 12 American players facing off against a team of 12 players from different countries around the world. Both events take place once every two years, with the host golf course rotating between America and another country. Why do we need two international competitions then?

Well, they aren’t the same in more ways than one. So, what is the difference between the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup?

What is the difference between the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup?

The Presidents Cup logo.
The Presidents Cup logo at Quail Hollow Club | David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup are similar in many ways, but the biggest difference between the two events is how the teams are concocted. In the Ryder Cup, Team USA goes up against Team Europe, while the Americans face off against the International team in the Presidents Cup.

Basically, the Ryder Cup is strictly America vs. Europe, and the Presidents Cup is America vs. the rest of the world. No Europeans are involved in the Presidents Cup, so the International team is primarily made up of South Africans, Australians, South Koreans, and Canadians every year.

Another major difference between the two events is the format of the competitions. For the Ryder Cup, Team USA and Team Europe face off in four morning fourball matches and four afternoon foursomes matches on Day 1 and Day 2. On Day 3, the competition finishes with 12 singles matches. The first team to reach 14.5 points wins.

As for the Presidents Cup, Team USA and Team International play five foursomes matches on Day 1, five fourball matches on Day 2, four morning foursomes matches and four afternoon fourball matches on Day 3, and 12 singles matches on Day 4. The first team to reach 15.5 points wins.

Team USA has dominated both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup

The Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup are fundamentally different in how they operate, but there’s always been one constant between the two competitions.

Team USA runs the show.

In 43 editions of the Ryder Cup, the Americans have a 27-14-2 record. It’s even more lopsided in the Presidents Cup, where Team USA has gone 11-1-1 in 13 matchups. A combined team competition pitting the Americans against the entire rest of the world would lead to closer results, but for now, Team USA is content dominating two separate events.

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