Presidents Cup Match Preview: Thursday Quarterly

CHARLOTTE, NC – Work on the three-year Presidents Cup has finally begun.

After a year-long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this four-day competition between the United States and international teams begins Thursday at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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The host team, headed up by PGA TOUR Player of the Year Scotty Scheffler, is a hot favorite but an inspiring international team rallied around his underdog status. Veteran members of the visiting team like Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama are looking for revenge after Sunday’s US return at Royal Melbourne in 2019, while exciting rookies like Tom Kim bring energy to the international team.

Thursday’s first round includes five four-way matches. In this format, known as the swing shot, teams of two will face off on each side, with team members alternately hitting the ball until it is punctured.

The first playtime on Thursday is 1:05 p.m. ET, followed by matches at 12-minute intervals. To prepare you for the opening round, here are previews of Thursday’s games.

Match 1

Patrick Cantlay/Xander Shaveli (USA) defeated. Adam Scott / Hideki Matsuyama (International), 1:05 pm

The defending champions’ opening shots will come from the dynamic duo Schauffele and Cantlay, who are competing 4-0 in Foursomes across the 2019 Presidents Cup and 2021 Ryder Cup. The strong pairing, who also showed his expertise as a team en route to winning the Zurich Classic in New Orleans this year, has trusted US captain Davis Love 3 to put them ahead.

They face the most experienced international players of Scott and Matsuyama. International captain Trevor Immelman expects the experienced duo to set the tone for his team.

Scott played all four team matches with Matsuyama in 2013 and again in his first foursome session in 2015. They are 1-2-0 as a duo in the Foursomes format.

Schaufele: “Our style of play is very similar. Throw it on the greasy part of the greens, and try to take advantage of the low pressure. For the most part, we see the shots sort of the same way, and I think that’s why our guys say the quad is so good for us.”

Scott: “I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know how many other games I’m going to play, so I kind of embrace every opportunity, whether it’s good, bad, careless, hard.”

Player records: Cantlay (3-2-0 overall; 2-0-0 quadruple); Shaveli (3-2-0 overall; 2-0-0 quadruple); Scott (16-22-6 overall; 7-9-2 quad); Matsuyama (6-7-4 overall; 1-4-1 quad)

Match 2

Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas (US) vs. Sungjae M/Corey Conners (International), 1:17pm EST

There was no doubt that Spieth and Thomas would play together. They grew up playing junior golf together, became good friends, collaborated in the past, and were even hanging out together at the Quail Hollow Club this week. So they are playing Same model as golf ball, which is so important. On Tuesday, Spieth and Thomas played a training-round match against Patrick Cantlay and Xander Shaveli, another U.S. clear team (see: Match 1) and rose to the top.

“This is a brutal pair you have to lose because they are both painful winners,” Shaveli said. “They love rubbing your face.”

Thomas showed how much he loved the event at Royal Melbourne in 2019, going 3-1-1. Spieth missed the last Presidents Cup, but was undefeated in the Foursomes. Im and Conners, rookie in the Presidents Cup, will be a new duo for the international team. They are both standout players in Tee-to-green, an important skill in Foursomes.

Player records: Spieth (8-5-1 overall; 5-0-0 quadruple); Thomas (6-2-2 overall; 2-0-2 quadruple); em (3-1-1; 0-1-1 quad); Connors (0-0-0 overall).

Match 3

Cameron Young / Colin Morikawa (US) – Tom Kim / KH Lee (international), 1:29 pm ET

Pairing Morikawa and Young is similar to using the Create-A-Player option in a video game. You have one of TOUR’s best iron players, but with an extra 30 yards off the tee. Young earns hits on the greens, which is an improvement over Morikawa in that aspect of the game as well. It’s the formula we saw hit last year, when Morikawa went 2-0-0 at Forsums alongside Dustin Johnson in the Ryder Cup.

Morikawa and Young, a producer from nearby Wake Forest, face two rookies in the President’s Cup, but both have won this year. Kim is the spark of the international team, at 20 years old and full of energy he is having an exciting summer that culminated in winning the Wyndham Championship. He would have finished sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach last season if he had enough rounds to qualify and could get his putter hot, as we saw at Windham, where he got more than 12 hits on the Greens.

Player records: Young (0-0-0 in general; 0-0-0 quadrant); Colin Morikawa (0-0-0 overall; 0-0-0 quadrant); Kim (0-0-0 overall; 0-0-0 quad); Li (0-0-0 in general; 0-0-0 quadrant)

Match 4

Scotty Sheffler/Sam Burns (US) vs. Se-Woo Kim/Cam Davis (International), 1:41pm ET

It certainly comes as no surprise to see world number 1 ranked Schaeffler pair up with his great friend Burns on their first round of the Presidents Cup. The two share a close bond since they were teenagers And combined in seven incredible rounds of the PGA TOUR last season.

Schaeffler is a batting machine who started his career after making his successful debut in the Ryder Cup a year ago while Burns beat the Greens for this duo, particularly given that it is pitching surfaces that Bermudagras prefers.

On the international side sits former PLAYERS champ Kim and rookie Davis. They had their work cut out for them, but both vowed to play aggressive golf in an effort to destabilize their more famous opponents.

Scheffler: “Sam and I play very similarly. The camaraderie will help. We know each other’s games well and we know each other’s characters well.”

Davis: “There’s no reason to play it safe or do anything like that. We’re playing a game. We’re playing aggressive. The golf course is set up for aggressive play. We’re really excited to get started.”

Player records: Scheffler (0-0-0 total; 0-0-0 quad); Burns (0-0-0 overall; 0-0-0 quad); Kim (1-2-0 overall; 0-1-0 quad); Davis (0-0-0 overall; 0-0-0 quadruple)

Match 5

Tony Finau / Max Homa (US) vs Taylor Pendrith / Mito Pereira (international), 1:53pm ET

Match 5 will see three young players, two of whom are for the international team, start their careers in the President’s Cup. Pereira, of Chile, just completed a rookie campaign that was notable for how close he came to winning the PGA Championship one year into his three-win season on the Korn Ferry Tour.

His partner Pendrith had his own close call, competing in the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July before dropping out in the last round. The man he played with that day, Finau, won the Rocket Mortgage for his second win in as many weeks and will be the veteran of this match, having also played in the 2021 Ryder Cup (1-2-0).

Meanwhile, Homa may be the most exciting player in this quartet, as he took home a big win Sunday at the Fortinet Championships in Napa, California. He is also one of the most passionate people, making him one of the The biggest goals of the 2022 season to get his first team in the US Presidents Cup.

Player records: Finau (0-1-3 overall; 0-0-1 quad); homa (0-0-0 in general); Pendrith (0-0-0 overall); Pereira (0-0-0 overall).