The opening day of the Presidents Cup is determined by the home captain and this year the USA skipper David Love III has chosen to begin with a session of foursomes or alternate shot action to get the tournament started at Quail Hollow.
There are five matches over the course of the first session on Thursday which means that just two players from each team will sit out the opening day. Each pairing will be looking for a point for their team to have them ahead at the end of the first game.
Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele vs Adam Scott & Hideki Matsuyama
Match tees off at 18.05 BST
The opening match of the Presidents Cup 2022 will see the elite and unbeaten American pairing of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele taking on the two kingpins of the Internationals team in Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama in a real heavyweight contest.
Cantlay and Schauffele are no strangers to each other having paired up at the 2019 Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup last year. They have won all four foursomes matches they have played as a pairing. The Matsuyama/Scott combo isn’t a new one either. They played together in 2013 and 2015 with a win and two defeats to their name. This is very much a match to watch for me. I certainly have no intention of taking this American pair on but the Internationals will know their team needs something from them so this might be tighter than I’d like for a bet. If forced to I’d back the home side but they’re short enough to swerve.
Justin Thomas & Jordan Spieth vs Corey Conners & Sungjae Im
Match tees off at 18.17 BST
The second match of the competition sees another familiar pairing representing USA as good friends Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth go out alongside each other when they go up against the new pairing of Corey Conners and Sungjae Im.
I think the first thing that needs to be said is that Jordan Spieth has never lost a foursomes match in the Presidents Cup while Thomas is unbeaten as well. Spieth is 5-0-0 while Thomas has two wins and two halves. Im had a half and a loss in foursomes three years ago and this is the first Presidents Cup for Conners. I get why Immelman has paired Conners and Im together. They are elite ball strikers and solid from tee to green but in this format you have to put the ball in the hole and that is where I’m concerned for them. Thomas and Spieth are wizards with the irons in particular and on and around the greens so if they stay in play off the tee then you’ve got to think these two are good things for the USA.
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Collin Morikawa & Cameron Young vs Tom Kim & K-H Lee
Match tees off at 18.29 BST
The middle match of the opening session of the tournament sees four Presidents Cup debutants on the course against each other as Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young take on the Korean pairing of Tom Kim and K-H Lee.
I must admit I like the look of this match because Cameron Young should be an ideal partner for Morikawa but I really like the Korean pair as well. Tom Kim looks to be a superstar in waiting for the Internationals and while he isn’t in great form K-H Lee has a very understated game. There are going to be holes where the USA are just unbeatable in this match though. Young smokes it miles and straight and then the best iron player in the game puts them onto the green where Young excels. It should be quite some combination but there is something about the Koreans, and Kim in particular, which could ignite them. I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Scottie Scheffler & Sam Burns vs Cameron Davis & Si Woo Kim
Match tees off at 18.41 BST
The penultimate match of the opening session of play sees the world number one Scottie Scheffler out alongside good friend Sam Burns when they go up against the Aussie-Korean pairing of Cameron Davis and Si Woo Kim in a clash which includes three debutants.
Two of those are the American pair but while they might be new to the competition they certainly aren’t to each other and although Burns hasn’t been in great touch for a while, it would be no surprise to see these two elevate each other to something special. Davis has promised he and Kim are going to go on the offensive here which is probably the right move but Si Woo can either be brilliant or brutal and clearly he needs to be the former if the International pair are going to have any chance here. I’d be surprised if the Americans don’t win this but Burns’ form is enough of a concern to put me off them.
Tony Finau & Max Homa vs Taylor Pendrith & Mito Pereira
Match tees off at 18.53 BST
Three more debutants do battle in the final match of the session when the USA pairing of Tony FInau and Max Homa go up against the interesting International pair of Taylor Pendrith and the man who was so nearly USPGA champion in Mito Pereira.
Finau is the only player to have played in the Presidents Cup before and he halved his only previous foursomes match in it but he and Max Homa are certainly in good form with them having three wins between them in the last couple of months or so. One of those wins was at the expense of Pendrith who will certainly have the Internationals up with Finau if they tee off on the same holes but whether Pereira can find some form to complement the Canadian is another story. Homa might get tired by the end of the week after his exertions last week but the adrenalin of his USA debut will certainly carry him through this match. I expect a USA win here but that is accounted for in the odds and they’re short enough to leave alone.
Back J.Spieth & J.Thomas to beat C.Conners & S.Im for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway