The Americans were heavy favorites coming into this week, and they backed up the hype on Thursday by jumping out to a 3.5-1.5 lead. Did anything you saw today at a blustery Liberty National make you believe that the U.S. won’t win the event handily?
Josh Sens: This is a long way from over. What stood out for me today wasn’t so much the Americans living up to the hype but some of the Internationals underperforming. Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel were very sloppy in that lead match, and Day and Leishman had to scratch back from their own balky start. The U.S. remains a heavy favorite, of course, but momentum can shift quickly. I still think it will be close down the stretch.
Ryan Asselta: Nope…nada…nothing. The U.S. team is simply too strong, and they set the momentum with big, big moments on Day 1: Rickie’s chip in on 3, DJ’s bunker hole-out on 7 and Spieth’s monster putt on 11. All three were punches to the gut of the International team, which has too many players off their game right now (see Matsuyama and Schwartzel). It may be 3 1/2 to 1 1/2 but if feels like an even bigger blowout.
Joe Passov: I simply can’t see the Internationals sticking with the Yanks, and nothing I saw today would change my mind. Not only does the U.S. have a decided talent advantage, but as always, they enjoy the chemistry/camaraderie advantage, too. The next three days will be entertaining, especially with the Manhattan backdrop, but the U.S. runs away with it.
Jeff Ritter: The U.S is currently on pace to win by 10, but I’ll boldly predict they win by less than that. The bright side for the Internationals is that the Oosthuizen-Grace duo might be the second-best pair in the event, behind Spieth-Reed. The dim side for the Internationals is that nothing else really clicked.
Jessica Marksbury: No, although I was impressed yet again by the seemingly untouchable matchup of Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen, 5-0 now in team play, and the one shining light for the Internationals today. I can’t wait to watch Rickie and Justin tangle with them tomorrow.
Dylan Dethier: Nope. When Hideki, the International team’s best player, loses eight of the last 12 holes in the event’s opening match, it’s hard to see things turning out well. Optimistically, for the Internationals, at least they won’t have to meet any more American presidents.