MONTREAL — Match play is totally unpredictable, as both teams proved in Thursday’s opening round. (I called for a 3-3 tie, not a 5 1/2-1/2 U.S. rout.) So, let’s try this again. Here are my predictions for Friday’s four-ball session:
Phil Mickelson-Hunter Mahan vs. Angel Cabrera-Retief Goosen (11:45 a.m. EST) Els and Cabrera played pretty well on Thursday, making five birdies in the alternate-shot session, but Goosen looked ill at ease in his loss with Stuart Appleby. Mahan and Mickelson were both solid on Thursday, but this is close to a must-win match for the International team. Somehow, they have to pull this one out. Prediction: International
Tiger Woods-Jim Furyk vs. Vijay Singh-Stuart Appleby (Noon) Singh and Appleby haven’t been playing their best golf, and Woods is in fine form. Tiger carries this twosome to a quick, early victory. Prediction: U.S.
Zach Johnson-Charles Howell III vs. Ernie Els-Mike Weir (12:15 p.m.) Howell looked shaky in parts of the opening match, while Els and Weir played some good shots. The home crowd will spur them on. Prediction: International
Steve Stricker-Scott Verplank vs. Adam Scott-K.J. Choi (12:30 p.m.) A very, very formidable International pairing, perhaps the best Gary Player has put out so far. But Stricker is the second hottest American right now, and he and Verplank both wield hot putters. Prediction: U.S.
Stewart Cink-Lucas Glover vs. Geoff Ogilvy-Nick O’Hern (12:45 p.m.) Ogilvy hit some surprising stray shots Thursday, and O’Hern made some big putts. Glover came up big in his debut, but the International team’s desperation prevails. Prediction: International
Woody Austin-David Toms vs. Trevor Immelman-Rory Sabbatini (1 p.m.) Sabbatini’s putts burned the edges of cups all day in the first round. He played well and had nothing to show for it. Austin holed clutch putts in a huge debut, and Toms looked better than he has in weeks. Prediction: Halved.
Predicted score after two rounds: U.S. 8, Internationals 4.