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Five Things We Learned: Day One of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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The 2022 Presidents Cup, like so many other aspects of golf, fell victim to the shadows that currently threaten the professional game. Players from both sides were ineligible to compete, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Rewind a year or so, and it’s safe to say that neither Mito Pereira nor Taylor Pendrith imagined that he would be part of a final-hole resolution of a first-round match. As a high school coach, I know that players transfer, and I also know that opportunity then knocks for others. With that optimistic outlook as our hood ornament, let’s break out the five things that we learned on day one of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

1. Mixing it up is good for a golf course

It takes a great mind to reroute a golf course known for its three-hole, closing stretch. The Green Mile consists of the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes at Quail Hollow, and features more water than a storm cloud. Since the Presidents Cup features match play as its format, the potential existed that those holes might be missed in a route. The set-up committee put its collective heads together and found a way to set the triumvirate as holes 13, 14, and 15, ensuring that they would play a bigger role in match outcomes. The next time you visit your home course, stop by the superintendent’s office and ask about alternative routings. Could be fun!

2. Cam Davis and Si Woo Kim earn the World Team’s only point

It’s not the heading that anyone wanted to write, but alas, it’s a fact. The mildly-decimated World team was able to secure but one point on Thursday. Kim and Davis won the last four holes to turn a two-hole deficit into a two-hole victory. It’s difficult to pinpoint what compelled Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns to play the closing quadrilateral in three strokes over par, but that’s precisely what happened.  On Friday, Scheffler and Burns will return to make amends, while Davis will partner countryman Adam Scott. Kim will watch from the sidelines, before returning in a subsequent round.

3. Young and Younger take match three for USA

Collin Morikawa is officially three months older than Cameron Young, but in terms of golf, the Californian is a sage, with two major titles. Not that Young is that far off, mind you, but Morikawa seems to wear the mantel of decorated veteran quite well. The pair matched up well on day one of the matches. Facing the Korean pair of Tom Kim and K. H. Lee, the USA pair took a 2-up lead into the back nine. A streak of malaise brought the match all square through twelve, but the Americans regained the lead at 13, then closed out the match with another birdie at 17. On Friday, Young will pair with Kevin Kisner in fourball, while Morikawa will sit the morning round out. Kim will partner Hideki Matsuyama, while Lee will rest for his next match.

4. Cantlay and Xander obliterate Scott and Hideki

The tee shot below was about the only imperfect thing that Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele did all day. Their 6 & 5 annihilation of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama was a resounding bell call for the sons of the Red White and Blue to ready, aim, and fire. The American team won 7 of the 13 holes played, against one for the pair of Masters champions. The bad news for Team World is that Patty and Xander will join forces again on day two. Scott and Matsuyama will find new partners, in an effort to steady the ship.

5. Where does the World get its Friday wins?

The Canadian duo of Connors and Pendrith needs to close out the anchor match against Horschel and Burns, but wait ~ we’re getting ahead of things. Adam Scott must play like a young Adam Scott, and Cam Davis must again set fire to the course, in order to derail the featured USA pair of Spieth and Thomas. If Im and Muñoz can upset Scheffler and Burns, the USA pair that everyone expected to dominate, will wonder what do they need to play well. In match three, Christian Bezuidenhout must motivate PGA Championship runner-up Mito Pereira, and Young and Kisner need to play less-than-stellar match play. Team World doesn’t need to win all five matches, but it does need to secure a minimum of 3.5 points, to make the host team sweat.

 

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Stacey Abrams Foul Flatulence

    Sep 23, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    Stinky

  2. 45th President

    Sep 23, 2022 at 4:40 pm

    Didn’t read the article, but number 6 should be Nobody Cares. Especially the so called International team. Joke event…

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Team USA retains 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow

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The host team from all across America recovered from a lackluster Saturday. It put on a singles show on Sunday, winning 6.5 of 12 points from Team World. The final tally at the 2022 Presidents Cup was 17.5 to 12.5 for the Red, White, and Blue. There were two sides to this presidential coin, however. Days one and two saw Team World dig an inescapable hole, dropping eight of ten points. Days three and four saw the two teams play essentially even. Despite a few premature obituaries from some of our celebrated golf pundits, the Presidents Cup is alive and well. 2024 sees the tournament reach Canada for the first time, at the Royal Montreal Golf Club. Chances are that it will feel like a home game for the USA, unless the locals spike the poutine. That event is two years off, however, so let’s have one last look at the Sunday Singles, courtesy of my Saturday evening predictions.

Correct ~ Match One: Justin Thomas vs. Si Woo Kim

Si Woo says See-You to JT and Team World gets to 8-11

Did I know that Justin Thomas would demonstrate ignorance by conceding himself a putt? Nay. I just had a feeling that this battle of Players Champions would fall to the South Korean juggernaut. Thomas was two-up at the turn, but lost 10 and 11 to fall back to even. To their credit, both players went for broke, and the final seven holes saw five outright wins. Kim banged home a birdie at the last to eke out a 1-up victory.

Incorrect ~ Match Two: Spieth vs. Davis

Cam Davis dispatches Spieth and it’s now a two-point affair

This was the must-have match for Team World, and Cam Davis came out like he understood the plan. Wins at the first two holes had Jordan Spieth on the ropes, but the Texan responded like Spieth. His putter ignited with volcanic heat, and he proceeded to make nearly everything he looked at on the frog hair. Spieth squared the match at the fifth, fell behind at the eighth, and squared again at the ninth. On the inward side, he turned out the lights. A birdie-birdie-birdie-par run from 11 to 14 gave him a 4-up lead, and he sealed the deal with a par at the 15th.

Correct ~ Match Three: Burns vs. Matsuyama

Burns and Hideki trade 14 birdies and end up tied. 9.5 to 11.5

Well, it was only eight birdies, and Hideki even won a hole with a bogey. In the end, he almost pulled a Jordan Spieth out of his hat, with a chip-in at the last. The ball stayed out and the match stayed even. Do you know how hard it is to predict a tied match? Pretty hard!

Incorrect ~ Match Four: Cantlay vs. Scott

Another massive upset, as one-major beats none-major and Team World is just one back.

Adam Scott’s point was also a necessary one, but pars weren’t going to get it done against Captain Cantlay. The American went out in one-under par, and somehow built a two-up advantage over Scott’s even par. How does match play work again? Oh, right, like that. On the back nine, Scott did his level-best to strike, but he is no longer the Adam Scott of old, the major champion. Cantlay’s golf was equally uninspired, and the match ended at 3 & 2, after both players made par at the 16th.

Correct ~ Match Five: Scheffler vs. Muñoz

Colombia’s pride does some accordion-inspired Vallenato all the way to a personal Encanto, and the
game is tied!

Scottie Scheffler had a whale of a 2022. His first win and first major win, and the world number-one ranking all reached his doorstep. To allow him a week of exhaustion is just fine, but let’s not minimize the effort put forth by SebMu. The Colombian watched his opponent win three of the first six holes and jump out to a two-up lead. Muñoz won eight, nine, and ten, to flip the script. From there on out, he was rock-solid and claimed a much-needed point for the visiting side.

Correct ~ Match Six: Finau vs. Pendrith

Tony Two-Step takes down Maple Leaf One to stem the international tide. It’s 12.5-11.5 for the hosts.

It was a rotten week for the Maple Leaf. Pendrith couldn’t do much as a partner to anyone, and he had no answer for Finau’s finesse over the closing stretch of holes. Finau followed up a successful individual season with a strong team performance. He’ll look back on 2022 and smile.

Incorrect ~ Match Seven: Schauffele vs. Conners

Corey Conners vindicates Taylor Pendrith, and Team Canada scores one for the globe. Tied again.

These guys played some rotten golf over the first nine holes, at +2 and even par. They followed that up with more rotten golf on the inward half, posting matching even-par totals. It was an uninspired match that fell to the USA side. A point that could have kept Team World in the equation, somehow got away. Hopefully Conners will learn and grow, and be a grizzly bear in Montreal, in two-years time.

Incorrect ~ Match Eight: Young vs. Im

Cameron Young wins because he and I are both Demon Deacons, and that is all that needs to be said.
13.5-12.5

Easily my least-logical and most-emotional prophecy was … almost correct. Young rolled out of bed on the fourth tee and found himself three down, after three consecutive bogeys. From there, the legend of Sleepy Hollow gritted his teeth and ground his way back to even, by the eighth hole. A dogfight ensued, with Im winning two holes, and Young but one, down the home stretch. Still, #GoDeacs.

Incorrect ~ Match Nine: KH Lee vs. BillyHo

OK, back to cloudy logic. Billy Horschel is a grinder, and he finds a way to split his match with KH
Lee. 14 to 13 with two matches left.

Sorry, no video on this one. Go figure. Horschel was plus-two on the day when he conceeded the 17th hole to KH Lee, and his match went to the Korean by a tally of 3 & 1. Lee was one-under on the day, so by this juncture, we can conclude one of the following: Quail Hollow was an absolute bear on day four, or the teams were absolutely exhausted.

Incorrect ~ Match Ten: Homa vs. Tom Kim

There is a reason that this match is so late. Homa and Kim find three eagles and ten birdies around
the course, and TK delivers a TKO and squares the matches.

Max Homa has remade his persona. From Captain Twitter, the Californian just might become the next Captain America. Homa had a taste of international team play at the 2013 Walker Cup at National Golf Links of America. Now, the lad looks like he is here to stay. A team without Homa is like a day without … victories. Tom Kim tossed everything he had at the Burbank bombardier, and it just wasn’t enough. It was another one of those last-hole losses that doomed the visiting squad.

Incorrect ~ Match Eleven: Morikawa vs. Pereira

Morikawa has a PGA Champinship, while Pereira came oh-so-close at Southern Hill. The tables turn
and the pride of Chile outlasts the two-time major winner. For the first time, Team World takes the
lead.

Another upset special that didn’t pan out. We finally saw some electric golf on Sunday. Morikawa had three birdies, one eagle, and five pars on the outward half, and poor Pereira could just stand there and shake his head. Mito was one-under himself, but was three-down in the match. He went four-down at the 10th to another Morikawa birdie, and the end was in sight. The match finished 3 & 2 for the American, as he notched his sixth birdie on the day at hole 16.

Incorrect ~ Match Twelve: Kisner vs. Bezuidenhout

Kisner, the match-play specialist, faces the grittiest, South African golfer ever. The Christiaan with two As makes one ace in the final match, ties Kisner, and wins the Presidents Cup for Team Globe.

Another one with no video, so we’ll try to paint you a picture. You know, a thousand words are worth a picture, or something like that. I think that we’ve read the last of Kevin Kisner is a match play god and he should be on international teams. He might be that at the Dell, but he ain’t that with a team USA kit on. Bezuidenhout played even-par golf through 17 holes, essentially daring Kisner to out-duel him. Didn’t happen, and CBez snared a point for Team World.

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Five Things We Learned: Day Three of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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A funny thing happened on the way to the rout: orange pylons went up and the route to the rout was closed for repairs. Team World said, in its collective language, NOT TODAY. With eight points up for grabs, and the potential for Team USA to win the match with one day left, Team World won six of eight matches and closed the gap to four points. Can I get an Amen, or a holla, or at least a dab? In Friday’s installment of #FiveThingsWeLearned, it was suggested by an astute and prescient writer that this may not be a done deal. Well, heading into Sunday, it ain’t. Let’s get to the five things we learned on Saturday, in Charlotte, at Quail Hollow, of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

1. Scott and Matsuyama finally put on their green capes, errr, jackets

Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama had been all but invisible through 48 hours of the Presidents Cup. In their morning match with the formidable pairing of Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young, Scott and Matsuyama jumped out to a 2-hole deficit through eight holes, and looked to be on their way to another loss. The de-facto team leaders decided that enough was enough, and turned things around. The International pair won five consecutive holes from 9 to 13, and seized a three-up lead that they would not relinquish. Gobsmacked, Morikawa and Young had no answer, and a point went to the visiting side.

2. If not for Thomas and Spieth, these matches are tied

Say what you will or won’t about the American duo, they get the job done. Four matches, four outright wins. On Saturday, with Team World rallying, Spieth and Thomas knocked off Sungjae Im and Corey Conners by 4 & 3 in the morning, then returned after lunch to dispatch Hideki Matsuyama and Taylor Pendrith by the same tally. In case folks aren’t paying attention, foursomes and four-ball are in no way, shape, or form, similar. They require different skill sets and partner interactions, but you’d never know it with these two guys. Unless both get knocked off on Sunday, however, Team World won’t have a chance to steal a cup.

3. Patty Ice and Professor X disappear on day three

Inexplicably, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele sat down in Saturday’s morning foursomes, despite a 6 & 5 foursomes skunking of Scott and Matsuyama on day one. Head-scratcher, am I right? The pair returned in the afternoon to face the Kim brothers (not really, just playing) Si Woo and Tom, but could not recapture their earlier spark. And yet … the American pair had a two-up lead at the 11th hole, when Tom Kim buried a massive putt for eagle to thrust a dagger home. Si Woo won two more holes coming home, and then Tom etched a birdie into the 18th green to steal a one-up win from the USA stalwarts. Wow, just and simply wow.

4. A new Cam has begun

Forget the mullet and the 1970s, B-Movie stache guy. Cam Davis is a guy on the move. After receiving a morning smack-down with Si Woo Kim, at the hands of Tony Finau (sorry, Michael Kim) and Max Homa, Davis regrouped with Aussie mate Adam Scott. Locked in a tight match with the SEC duo of Billy Horschel and Sam Burns, Davis closed eagle-birdie-birdie, and turned a one-down situation into a one-up victory. Instead of being down 6-12, Davis’ squad now has but 4.5 points to make up on Sunday.

5. How the Sunday Singles will shake out

Match One: Justin Thomas vs. Si Woo Kim

Si Woo says See-You to JT and Team World gets to 8-11

Match Two: Spieth vs. Davis

Cam Davis dispatches Spieth and it’s now a two-point affair

Match Three: Burns vs. Matsuyama

Burns and Hideki trade 14 birdies and end up tied. 9.5 to 11.5

Match Four: Cantlay vs. Scott

Another massive upset, as one-major beats none-major and Team World is just one back.

Match Five: Scheffler vs. Muñoz

Colombia’s pride does some accordion-inspired Vallenato all the way to a personal Encanto, and the
game is tied!

Match Six: Finau vs. Pendrith

Tony Two-Step takes down Maple Leaf One to stem the international tide. It’s 12.5-11.5 for the hosts.

Match Seven: Schauffele vs. Conners

Corey Conners vindicates Taylor Pendrith, and Team Canada scores one for the globe. Tied again.

Match Eight: Young vs. Im

Cameron Young wins because he and I are both Demon Deacons, and that is all that needs to be said.
13.5-12.5

Match Nine: KH Lee vs. BillyHo

OK, back to cloudy logic. Billy Horschel is a grinder, and he finds a way to split his match with KH
Lee. 14 to 13 with two matches left.

Match Ten: Homa vs. Tom Kim

There is a reason that this match is so late. Homa and Kim find three eagles and ten birdies around
the course, and TK delivers a TKO and squares the matches.

Match Eleven: Morikawa vs. Pereira

Morikawa has a PGA Champinship, while Pereira came oh-so-close at Southern Hill. The tables turn
and the pride of Chile outlasts the two-time major winner. For the first time, Team World takes the
lead.

Match Twelve: Kisner vs. Bezuidenhout

Kisner, the match-play specialist, faces the grittiest, South African golfer ever. The Christiaan with two As makes one ace in the final match, ties Kisner, and wins the Presidents Cup for Team Globe.

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Five Things We Learned: Day Two of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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The reports of Team World’s death are exaggerated. Will the international squad storm back from its day-two deficit to win on Sunday? Probably not. However, the team found its legs on Friday, and pushed every match to the 16th hole. With mainstays and anchors gone from the honorable International squad, younglings like Mito Pereira, Taylor Pendrith, and Tom Kim will take their lumps this week, but will emerge as stronger players for 2024. Don’t be surprised if a few of those halved matches fall the way of the World on Saturday, and if the visiting squad pulls out a few wins on day three. Let’s digest the five things we learned on day two of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Match 1: Buzzsaw Number One wins for second consecutive day

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth don’t lose. To boot, they are from the same generation, and they share that camaraderie and kinship. The partners won holes 4 and 5 to gain an early, 2-up advantage over elder statesmen Adam Scott and his countryman, Cam Davis. The Aussies fought all day long, but the Americans twice reached a 3-up advantage, and closed their opponents out on the 17th hole, 2 and 1. Captain Davis Love III shows no signs of separating the duo, so Team World will have to contend with Jussy and Jordy again on Saturday

Match 2: Im and Muñoz saw Scheffler and Burns

What’s the deal with Scottie? When you’re number one in the world, people expect you to win every time. All that competitors see is a bull’s eye on your back. For the second consecutive day, the Scheffler-Burns pair underperformed, and allowed the World to grab a precious half-point. Scheffler won the fifth hole with a birdie, but that was the end of his heroics. It was up to Burns to win another three holes, to manage a tie with the pride of Korea and Colombia. If Scheffler-Burns is together again on Saturday, then Captain Love deserves a bit of second-guessing. All in all, a tie is better than a loss, for both sides.

Match 3: Second match halved by two impressive sides

In match three, Cameron Young won three holes for the USA. Christiaan Bezuidenhout won two (and Mito Pereira, one) for the World team. First grade match tells you that neither side had the upper hand. Kevin Kisner never got on track for the tri-color, and left the heavy lifting to his young partner. Young was up to the task, and nearly stole a win with a long birdie putt at the final green. If I’m the World captain, I keep Mito and Cristo together on Saturday. Just saying.

Match 4: Xander and Patty keep taking them down

Hideki and Tom had to feel like a couple of high-school sophomores, paired against the two-time defending conference champs, who just happen to be seniors with fast cars. When Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are your number two team, that’s trouble for the opposition. No one has found a way to defeat Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, and the more matches they win, the more formidable they become. The Americans from Cali came out blazing. Five wins on the opening nine got them to a five-up-with-seven-to-play cushion. To Tom Kim’s credit, he didn’t give up. He won three of the next four holes on his own, but without any help from Hideki, the match ended in a 3 & 2 win for Team USA.

Match 5: Homa-Run on final green wins final match for hosts

For the second consecutive day, the World team had an opportunity to secure a half or full point on the final green. For the second time, they were unable to do so. Max Homa traded Tony Finau for Billy Horschel, but remained in the anchor spot for the American side. The Canadian pair of Pendrith and Conner never led, but never trailed by more than two holes. The Maple Leafs had their opportunities, but could not gain the upper hand on the Red, White, and Blue. When Homa buried the twelve-feet putt at the last, the host squad secured an 8-2 advantage, headed into round three.

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