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October 1 2013

2:15 PM

Why Muirfield is good for match play

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Nick Price is captain of the International Team.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

DUBLIN, Ohio -- There's not a lot of unfamiliarity when it comes to Muirfield Village at this year's Presidents Cup.

All but one player from either team (Hideki Matsuyama) has played here before.

How it sets up, however, certainly could factor into team strategy.

"All the par 3s are even holes and all the par 5s are odd holes," noted International Captain Nick Price. "From that perspective, I think it's easier for the guys to figure out who is going to drive off the first tee and play all the hard holes."

To Price's point, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson ranked second and fourth, respectively, in par-3 performance on the PGA TOUR this season.

On the International side, Brendon de Jonge and Jason Day were 23rd and 52nd in the same category.

"In alternate shot, there are some holes that are going to make you step up," U.S. Captain Fred Couples said. "The 12th hole is now like 175 yards. I think that will be a pivotal hole, because you may win the 11th and be up first and stand up there and have to hit a quality shot on 12."

The finishing holes at Muirfield Village -- specifically the par-4 14th, par-5 15th and par-3 16th -- also make it conducive to match play, something we saw in the 1987 Ryder Cup as well.

"Those are holes that...14, you can make a birdie or a triple bogey on that hole," Price said. "Same goes for 15 (and) 16 has become over the years since the re-do, a really tough par 3, and I'm sure we are going to have a breeze all week.

"The back nine is great for match play. A lot of excitement. And even if you're 2 or 3 down, anything can happen on that back nine."

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