This Presidents Cup almost didn't happen.
(And don't make a wisecrack how, now facing a 4-1 deficit after Day 1, the Internationals might wish it never got started.)
[Presidents Cup: Get the latest scores of Team USA and International Team]
The International players, led by the likes of captain Nick Price, PGA Championship winner Jason Day and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, had planned a boycott of the biennial meeting if PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem didn't agree to reduce the number of matches.
"Had it stayed at 34 points, it would have been a massive decision as a team, but I don't think that we would have played," Oosthuizen said, according to Golf.com.
After some heavy lobbying from Price, Finchem agreed to drop four matches, going from 34 to 30 matches for the 2015 contest. Price and company wanted a six-point drop to 28, matching the number of points up for grabs in the Ryder Cup, which matches the U.S. against Europe in the off years of the Presidents Cup cycle.
The United States team, led by Jay Haas, has expressed some confusion as to why Finchem, who unilaterally controls the rules of the competition wholly owned by the PGA Tour, acquiesced to the Internationals' demands. After all, the U.S. team never agreed to the changes. In fact, negotiations to change the rules were at an impasse, with the U.S. resisting change. Finchem, knowing that the future of the matches may have been on the line, forged what amounts to a compromise.
The change means that, after Day 1, the Americans are closer to winning the Presidents Cup for the ninth time in 11 matches. With four points on the board, the U.S. needs 11.5 more from the remaining 25 available to win this year's match in South Korea.