Last updated on 23 September 2022 at 14:38 (UK time)
The fourteenth Presidents Cup took place in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the United States faced off against an international team, and if you had talked to many pundits on Thursday before the competition began, you would have thought the Americans had already done it. hands on the trophy.
This is because the LIV Tour, a tour founded by former Australian golfer Greg Norman, has decimated the international side as many players who would have suited up for the international side have decided to jump ship and join the LIV Golf party, which means. they were ineligible for the competition, meaning the likes of Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen could not play for the international team.
This meant that the highest-ranked player representing the visiting team was Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama, who was ranked seventeenth, while the hosts had ten out of twelve players ahead of him in the rankings, and the average international ranking was around fifty. eight rookies, the odds were heavily stacked on Trevor Immelman’s side.
However, with US captain Davis Love III also sidelined, the international side were still of high quality, although they were inexperienced in this type of battle, so the Americans could not be complacent and had to stamp their authority so as not to shock them. a largely youthful away lineup.
On the first day, foursomes were played, meaning alternate shots between the pairs sent out there on the opening day, and five matches were played in the afternoon, they were as follows:-
Match One – Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele vs. Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama
Second Match – Jordan Speith/Justin Thomas vs. Sungjae Im/Corey Conners
Third Match – Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa vs Tom Kim/KH Lee
Match Four – Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns vs. Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis
Match Five – Tony Finau/Max Homa vs Taylor Pendrith/Mito Pereira
So what did the experts say about the possibility of the international side getting something from day one? Match One was a guaranteed win for the Americans, the second match could have gone either way, but the American pair was likely to cross, the third match was perhaps the international’s best chance to get a point, but matches four and five were also likely to go the American’s way, so many were waiting after 4:1 for the hosts on the first day.
Could the international side perhaps have been able to squeeze out another point or even half a point and come away with a 3-2 or 3 ½ -1 ½ deficit on day one, they would have been happy with that if they had managed to achieve it.
The underdogs needed a good start but, unfortunately for them, their opponents ran out of the blocks and led all five games and with about two hours left on the first day, 5-0 looked a real possibility, Cantlay/Schauffele continued their demolition. Scott/Matsuyama 6&5 put the first point on the board, but the remaining four matches were very close, especially the last two.
Speith/Thomas managed to go 2&1 against Im/Conners on the seventeenth hole, and Young/Burns leveled their match against Kim/Lee to give the hosts a 3-0 lead. the last two games were make or break for the international side you felt.
Well, bow to Si Woo Kim/Davis, who were two and four down against Scheffler/Burns, but a great late comeback from the international pair saw them win race 2 for the first point on the board. away team and a final match between Finau/Homa and Pendrith/Pereira where all the fields go to the last hole, the internationals could grab at least half a point more to make it a decent day after a terrible start.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t, as they let a par putt split the match, meaning the American pair narrowly edged to a 1-up victory, meaning the hosts held a 4-1 advantage after the first day. On day two, the US side were the better side throughout the opening day, and while the Internationals staged a solid comeback in four of the five races, they could only climb a single point after one day of competition and already have a mountain to climb.
Five more games are coming up on Friday, Four-Ball, here are the matchups:-
First Match – Jordan Speith/Justin Thomas vs. Adam Scott/Cam Davis
Second Match – Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns vs. Sungjae Im/Sebastian Munoz
Keven Kisner/Cameron Young vs. Christaan Bezuidenhout/Mito Pereira
Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele vs. Hideki Matsuyama/Tom Kim
Billy Horschel/Max Homa vs. Corey Conners/Taylor Pendrith
The second day will see Munoz and Bezuidenhout compete after the first day for the first time this year, and the Americans will also see Kisner and Horschel in the 2022 version of the tournament. Can the internationals still make the putts on the second day and try to come back to this thing, or will the Americans, playing with Speith, Thomas, Scheffler and Burns for the second day in a row, take complete control of this thing. Day three, we’ll find out soon.