Another Presidents Cup. Another first-day lead for Team USA. With Thursday’s wind-blown foursomes matches in the books, and the Americans out front 3.5-1.5, we now look ahead to Friday’s four-ball session. New day. New format. But what about a different outcome? Here’s a look at the pairings and the results we expect.
Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed
vs. Hideki Matsuyama/Adam Hadwin
Ryder Cup. Presidents Cup. It doesn’t seem to matter. All but indomitable against Team Europe, Spieth and Reed looked much the same against the Internationals on Thursday in their 5-and-4 dusting of the rookie duo, Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim. Friday pits them against a more formidable pairing, so don’t expect this one to wrap up quite so early. But with Matsuyama out of peak form lately, this one looks like another win for the wunderkids.
Americans win. USA: 4.5 INT: 1.5
Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas
vs. Branden Grace/Louis Oosthuizen
Close friends Thomas and Fowler enjoyed a walk in the park on Thursday against struggling Charl Schwartzel and Hideki Matsuyama. But Friday promises to be a dogfight as the young Americans take what looks like the Internationals’ strongest pairing. The South African stalwarts are now 6-0 as teammates in the Presidents Cup. After a match that should go down to the wire, they’ll be 7-0 on Friday night.
Internationals win. USA: 4.5 INT: 2.5
Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner
vs. Jason Day/Marc Leishman
In a rematch of Thursday’s foursomes matchup, momentum goes to the Aussies, who were three down early to Kisner and Mickelson but scratched back to earn a halve. Though Kisner is a bulldog, and Mickelson is, well, Mickelson, Leishman is among the hottest golfers on the planet and Day has been rounding into form. Give this one to the team from overseas.
Internationals win. USA: 4.5 INT: 3.5
Kevin Chappell/Charley Hoffman
vs. Charl Schwartzel/Anirban Lahiri
Presidents Cup rookie Hoffman and Chappell both sat on Thursday, so they’ll be chomping at the bit. They can calm themselves by chatting about the closing stretch of the season, when Chappell edged out Hoffman for the final automatic qualifying spot on the team. Here’s something else that might sooth their nerves: the sight of Schwartzel fighting a two-way miss. The Americans take this one.
Americans win. USA: 5.5 INT: 3.5
Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka
vs. Adam Scott/Jhonattan Vegas
Drive for show, they say. And in that regard, these Internationals hit it plenty long to keep up within reach of Team USA big-knockers. The problem is, you also putt for dough, and both Vegas and Scott are suspect with the flat-stick. Look for that to be the difference in a match that should be over before the 15th tee.
Americans win. USA: 6.5 INT: 3.5