Courtesy Icon Series
looking for something new in the world of golf? Who is not these days?
Fred Couples, Ernie Els and a host of world-class athletes from sports other than golf look to deliver just that next week with the debut Icon Series event, June 30-July 1, at Liberty National. GC, just across the Hudson. River from midtown Manhattan.
The Icons Series is a Presidents Cup-style event, pitting a mix of 12 active and former brand athletes from the US against their international counterparts in a six-session clash. Couples and Els will captain each squad.
Who is in the field?
Team USA: Michael Phelps (former Olympic swimmer), michael strahan (previous NFL defensive end), ben roethlisberger (NFL quarterback), jr smith (former NBA guard), John Smoltz (former MLB pitcher), Andrew Whitworth (former NFL tackle), Ivan Rodriguez (former MLB catcher), reggie bush (former NFL running back), Robert Gould (NFL kicker), Marshall Falk (former NFL running back), golden tate (former NFL wide receiver turned minor league baseball player)
Rest of the World Team: harry kane (Premier League soccer player), Canelo Alvarez (Mexican boxer), ash barty (Australian tennis player), Pep Guardiola (Premier League manager), Ab de Villiers (South African cricketer), brian lara (former Trinidadian cricketer), ricky ponting (former Australian cricketer), James Milner (Premier league football player), George Gregan (Australian rugby player), yuvraj singh (former Indian cricketer)
Astute observers will notice only 11 named players on the US team and 10 on the international team. The remaining players will be added to each team in the coming days.
“These guys are really good golfers,” Els told Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz this week, in an interview that will appear on next week’s episode of Subpar. “Some of these guys are scratch players. We’ll see how serious they take it. Being so competitive in their field of sport, I think the competitiveness will manifest itself as the tournament goes on. I don’t think anyone wants to lose in this.”
Which will take place?
National Freedom. The host site of the 2017 Presidents Cup, which has also hosted the FedEx Cup playoff events, will once again host a team competition. Will this be as big a blowout as the ’17 Cup dominated by the United States? Unlikely! But we’ll have to see how Freddie’s team handles the pressure. The event will take place on June 30 and July 1, with a practice day on June 29.
What is the format?
The six-session series will take place over two days, with three 10-hole match play sessions per day and the event culminating in head-to-head singles clashes. You read right: 10hole play sessions. That means teams won’t be competing in the Liberty National layout as we know it. Check out the adjusted course map below:
Day 1 will start and end with five fourballs matches, where the best score of each tandem of players is their team’s score. Sandwiched between the fourball sessions will be a greensomes session, which is similar to foursomes. The difference with greensomes is that each player tees off and teams of two players select their favorite tee ball and play alternate shots from there. Day 2 will follow the same format with the exception of the third session, which features 12 decisive singles matches.
How can I see it?
Viewers at home can tune in to the action on the second day of the games, which is Friday, July 1, when the telecast will air on NBC’s Peacock app from 2-6:30 p.m. ET.
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Can I attend?
You can indeed. Fans in the New York City area who want to see the action in person can do so with tickets to the grounds that are $25 per day or $40 for a two-day pass. Spectators under the age of 17 will be able to enter for free with a paid ticket holder.
Why should I watch?
Umm, did you see the lineups? There are athletes representing just about every major sport: NFL, MLB, NBA, tennis, boxing, Premier League football, even cricket! Also, the match play format changes things up a bit. We are used to sports figures and celebrities competing in pro-ams under stroke play. Now, we’ll see them compete as teammates in a match-play format, in front of fans and cameras on a playing field that’s vastly different from the ones they’ve dominated for years. Nerves alone should be reason enough to tune in.
Is this the start of something bigger?
This is the plan. The icon series aims to host future events in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. No dates have been announced for those sites, but they are coming.