President’s Cup: Rating the rosters based on career performance

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 27: Jordan Spieth of the U.S. Team and Justin Thomas of the U.S. Team pose for a photo during practice rounds prior to the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 27, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 27: Jordan Spieth of the U.S. Team and Justin Thomas of the U.S. Team pose for a photo during practice rounds prior to the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club on September 27, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

One of golf’s biggest events is here as the President’s Cup takes place at Liberty National. But how well has each player one both rosters done in their careers? Let a unique rating system tell you.

The President’s Cup is upon us, and it will be a duel at the scenic Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey. The rosters have been set for a little while and both teams are loaded with talent.

For this story, we will rate each golfer using a unique, video game-style system. There’s a fun game called NBA Playgrounds which is a whacky, over-the-top basketball experience and features a great list of current NBA players and the greats of yesteryear.

In that particular game, they use a labeling system to rate players. These labels are “Epic” and “Legend” and these will be seen on the player’s cards when picking your stars.

Some players aren’t labeled at all, as Epic and Legend players are the best of the best. In golf terms, there’s a nice blend of both “epic” and “legend” types on this year’s teams.

This is a way to rate the career success of each player on both teams, not necessarily a traditional “power ranking” type of column. We’ll also throw in some of their key stats which can help them in the President’s Cup.

But overall, this list is to show what type of careers these great players all have had so far, and perhaps a little bit of where they’re headed.

And for players who aren’t an Epic or Legend, it does not take away from how good they are. In the video game, there are a ton of great players who aren’t labeled.

Without further ado, here are our ratings for each golfer on the Presidents Cup rosters, starting with team USA. Enjoy.

Rating the Presidents Cup roster for Team USA

Dustin Johnson: Legend

With his 16 PGA Tour titles and one major championship, Johnson has earned himself the “Legend” label. Of course, he’s one of, if not the longest driver of all-time. He has won once every year for his career.

Only Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have done that in a 10-year span. Winning the U.S. Open at Oakmont was just the icing on the cake.

He, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are the most dangerous player in the field at Liberty National. Johnson is top 10 in driving distance, greens in regulation percentage and scoring average.

Jordan Spieth: Legend

The three-time major champion has become golf’s biggest superstar in just two years. However, it’s hard to believe that he already has been on the PGA Tour for half a decade. He’s already one of the greatest putters of all-time and he will prove to be critical at Liberty National.

A record-tying performance at the 2015 Masters Tournament is what officially put Spieth on the map. He even was listed as one of Time Magazine’s “100 most influential people”.

His rapid tear through the golfing landscape has already put him up there with the greats. The scary thing is that he’s only 24-years-old.

This season, Spieth ranks first in birdie average and fourth in greens in regulation percentage.

Justin Thomas Presidents Cup
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Thomas of the United States reacts to his birdie on the 16th green during the final round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 24, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Justin Thomas: Epic

In his first rodeo in team competition, the red-hot Thomas arguably is team USA’s biggest threat to the International squad. Ranking second both in Eagles and Birdie Average, Thomas is capable sticking the flagstick and making putts at will.

With his first major under his belt at the PGA Championship as well as winning the FedEx Cup to complete a monster season, JT is destined for greatness. Being able to stick flags and sink putts at will is a recipe for success.

Thomas had done so all year and will be a pleasure as always to watch.

Daniel Berger: None

I was very close to making Berger an Epic due to his Rookie of the Year award in 2015 but not getting a label is nothing to be ashamed of. Berger is a player who is on the rise, and with two wins under his belt already, he can most be a dangerous player down the road if he isn’t one already.

A President’s Cup rookie, Dan-B will gain some amazing experience, and going into 2018, he can have himself a very fine year.

Kevin Kisner: None

Another very good player who is very similar to Berger in that, they both have two wins on the PGA Tour. Kisner just doesn’t have the Rookie of the Year award like Berger does.

A terrific showing at the PGA Championship almost gave him his first major. Had he been the one lifting the Wanamaker Trophy in victory, he’d get the Epic bump.

Like Berger, Kisner will be a terrific addition to the U.S. team.

Rickie Fowler: Epic

Although still young, Rickie Fowler is a veteran on Tour now, and he has decorated himself quite well throughout his time, winning seven times worldwide. Still majorless, it’s only a matter of time before one golf’s deadliest (and fun) players wins a big-time title.

He proudly has the Epic card. However, with a few more wins and a major, Rickie Yutaka Fowler will join teammates Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson as “Legends”.

The second best putter in the world, Fowler can put on a cup show if he can drill putts on the weekend for the Americans. And it’s his putting that can slam the door shut to give the Americans points.

Brooks Koepka: Epic

One of golf’s most cool and collected players, Brooks Koepka ascended into of the game’s very best players when he won the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Like fellow teammate Rickie Fowler, he has played great in the majors, with six top 10 finishes, including four times in the top five.

His power and streaky putting will prove to be a great asset for team USA at Liberty National. The major title has earned him the Epic badge.

Although widely noted for his powerful drives, Koepka is also a deadly putter, ranking 12th in the world on the greens. Power and putting is a dangerous combination that could lead to success.

Matt Kuchar: Epic

The seven-time PGA Tour champion and Olympic Bronze medalist is widely recognized as one of the best players not to win a major. He came very close at The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, but ultimately lost to Spieth who had one of the greatest finishes of all-time.

Much like Fowler, with a couple more wins and a major, Kuchar would get the “Legend” badge. For now, he is a terrific player who can be a human microwave when he’s making putts.

His experience and high level of play will give team USA a boost. One of the world’s best short game players, Kuchar ranks 11th around the greens.

Patrick Reed: Epic

Although it feels like it’s been ages since Patrick Reed won on the PGA Tour, he’s still dangerous. Not to mention, he’s great in team competition, so good that he has earned the nickname “Captain America”.

The five-time PGA Tour champion could put himself in a position to reach Legend status if he can play the way he did a couple of years ago. He still did have a very good season, however, with some great play at both the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

As usual, the fiery Reed will be key to a USA win.

Reed is yet another deadly putter that the Americans have on their roster. He currently ranks seventh in the world with the flat stick.

Kevin Chappell: None

With his first PGA Tour win this year, Kevin Chappell has officially arrived. He’s no stranger to solid performance though, especially with a top 10 finish at The Masters this season.

Another President Cup rookie, Chappell will have an opportunity to show what you can under the pressure of playing for his country. Chappell’s power will be on display at Liberty national, as he ranks 23rd in driving distance.

Phil Mickelson: Legend

Phil Mickelson Presidents Cup
LAKE FOREST, IL – SEPTEMBER 16: Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club on September 16, 2017 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

A no-brainer, Mickelson is one of the greatest golfers of all-time with 42 wins and five majors to his credit. He also has appeared on every Presidents Cup team since the beginning in 1994.

He also is known as one of the sport’s great scramblers, and although his last win was at the 2013 Open Championship, Mickelson is still a threat. He also provides a leadership presence in the locker room and on the golf course.

This is important for a team that features multiple first-time participants. Ranking 20th in the world in birdie average, Mickelson has proven he’s still a terrific scorer.

Charley Hoffman: Epic

Very quietly may be one of the better current players not to have captured a major, Hoffman has had a very consistent year. This included an impressive seven second-place finishes, including at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He also shot one of the best rounds in Masters Tournament history with a 7-under 65 in the first round. Despite not grabbing a win this season, he still has four to his credit, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the veteran grabbed another next year.

And despite being a rookie on team USA, he is still plenty experienced, and it will serve him well at Liberty National. 17th in the world in birdie average, he can give the Americans a scoring boost.

Ranking the International Team

Hideki Matsuyama: Epic

With five PGA Tour wins and nine international titles, Matsuyama is not too far off from legendary status. His epic performance at the WGC-Bridgestone helped him become one of today’s most elite players.

A major championship and some more PGA Tour titles would really place him among the greats. To be able to play very well on both the PGA Tour and internationally is something that can be hard to accomplish.

There’s no doubt that Hideki has done this well. Arguably the best ball-striker in the world, he will be the International team’s top dog at Liberty National.

Jason Day: Legend

It doesn’t seem that long ago when Jason Day was the young very talented player who was hungry to grab a major. He came very close at the 2011 Masters tournament where he finished runner-up to Charl Schwartzel.

Day’s time came at the 2015 PGA Championship, where he finally cemented his legacy as a major champ. Combine this with 10 PGA Tour wins and you have quite a decorated career.

He’s almost a lock for the Hall of Fame. A couple of more wins would seal the deal.

His season was quiet, but he’s still one of the best all-around players in the game and won’t go down easily at Liberty National. He ranks fifth in the world in eagles and sixth in birdie average.

Adam Scott: Legend

Adam Scott Presidents Cup
NORTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 02: Adam Scott of Australia plays his shot from the 14th tee during round two of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on September 2, 2017 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) /

The 2013 Masters champion is known widely for being one of the nicest guys in golf as well as having the best swing on tour. However, he has put together quite a career, with 26 wins combined both on the PGA Tour and internationally.

He has won at least once every year for six years straight between 2003 and 2008. He also won seven times between 2010 and 2016.

The 37-year-old will prove to be a leader for the international team both on and off the course. With such a decorated career, Scott can carry the torch at the Presidents Cup.

Ranking in the top 20 in both driving distance and scoring average makes Scott a player to watch out for.

Louis Oosthuizen: Legend

2010 was undoubtedly the most magical year of Louis Oosthuizen’s career when he grabbed The Open Championship for his first major championship at St. Andrews. He put together one of greatest performances you’ll see at the Old Course when he won the tournament by a whopping seven strokes.

His 12 international wins combined with the major make him one of the best players in the world. He also is one of only seven players to be runner-up at all four major championships throughout his career.

With two Presidents Cup appearances, Oosthuizen is 5-3-2. A winning record that may continue this weekend. A terrific player out of the sand, he ranks sixth in the world in sand save percentage and also is 22nd in putting.

Charl Schwartzel: Legend  

Widely known for his unbelievable final four-hole stretch at the 2011 Masters Tournament to win it, Schwartzel has put together a very nice career. This includes 13 international wins and two PGA Tour titles including the major.

In all, Schwartzel has mustered up 15 wins in his career. This excludes his nine Sunshine Tour victories.

Although he still may be just a “name” to some here in the United States, Schwartzel has accomplished enough to earn the “Legend” badge.

One of the world’s best at sand save opportunities (ranked 20th), this gives the International team an edge on Liberty National’s pesky bunkers.

Marc Leishman: Epic

Marc Leishman Presidents Cup
JERSEY CITY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 26: Marc Leishman of the International Team plays a shot during a practice round prior to the Presidents Cup on September 26, 2017 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

One of the hottest players in golf recently, Leishman has had a steady career thus far. With two PGA Tour wins and five titles internationally, he’s in a great position to capture a few more titles to reach double digits.

Not only does he have the seven wins, but his two PGA Tour victories came this season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and most recently at the BMW Championship. The Rookie of the Year winner in 2009, Leishman has made a nice charge up the golf stardom pole.

Other than Matsuyama, Leishman is the International team’s biggest threat, highly due to his consistency in recent months. He ranks fourth in the world in scoring average. Not too shabby.

Branden Grace: Epic

Probably best known for his incredible 62 he shot at Royal Birkdale at The Open Championship, Branden Grace is a beast when he’s on his game. A PGA Tour title and 10 international wins solidify his Epicness.

Even more impressive, four of his European Tour wins came in 2012. This included back-to-back victories in the month of January.

After going 0-4 in his first Presidents Cup appearance in 2013, Grace bounced back with a monster performance in 2015 where he went undefeated, going 5-0. Another dangerous player to watch for the International team.

One of the best scramblers in the world, Grace is 39th in escaping trouble.

Jhonattan Vegas: Epic

This one was a hard to decide on, but “Jhonny V” squeaks his way onto an Epic card. With four career wins including three on the PGA Tour, Vegas has proved himself as a very solid golfer.

Most notable of his achievements is his back-to-back wins at the RBC Canadian Open, an elite tournament on tour, where you see the world’s best. After successfully defending his title this year, there’s no doubt he’ll come into 2018 ready to win again.

A long driver off the tee, Vegas provides some extra power for the International squad. He’s 33rd in driving distance.

Si Woo Kim: None

After his win at The Players Championship officially put him on the map, Si Woo Kim has the potential to ride the train of young stars. Already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour at just 22-years-old, Kim can build himself up as an elite player in the near future.

He came close to having three victories, but a loss to Aaron Baddeley at the 2016 Barbasol Championship in a playoff prevented that. Nonetheless, Kim is not far off from Epic status and he will be a great asset for the International team.

A solid short game player, Kim ranks 69th in the world from around the greens.

Adam Hadwin: None

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Another player who was tough to rate, Adam Hadwin is extremely close to Epic status with three wins in his career both on the PGA Tour and internationally. Without a doubt, however, Hadwin is one of the more dangerous players on tour when he’s hot.

Recording his first PGA Tour title and shooting a 59 in the same season speaks volumes to his talent. It’s only a matter of time before he grabs a few more wins and honestly, it wouldn’t shock anyone.

An elite putter who ranks 18th in the world can be an impact player on the weekend.

Anirban Lahiri: Epic

Although, a lesser known player to American golf fans, Anirban Lahiri is one of the best golfers in the world, with 18 international wins to his credit. This includes two European Tour victories and seven Asian Tour titles.

He has also enjoyed some minor major championship success, finishing in a tie for fifth at the 2015 PGA Championship. Despite his talents and success, the Presidents Cup hasn’t been to kind to Lahiri who went 0-6 in the 2015 tournament.

Despite this, he’s a scoring threat for the International squad, as Lahiri is 14th in the world in birdie average.

Emiliano Grillo: None

Another player who is poised to become a star in the game, Emiliano Grillo has enjoyed some early success on the PGA Tour. This includes winning the Open in 2015 en route to capturing the Rookie of the Year award.

Being in his first Presidents Cup, this will give the 25-year-old a chance to build his resume if he can finish with a winning record come Sunday. He’s one of golf’s most accurate drivers, ranking 39th in the world in that category.

So there you have it. As you can tell, both teams are loaded with talent, which will make this President’s Cup a classic. 

Make sure you keep it locked here at PGN for more President’s Cup stories and you can follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio

Next: Presidents Cup: Meet the International Team