Some of the best golfers in the world will be in action this week at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2022 Presidents Cup. This event was originally planned for 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 Ryder Cup to be moved back a year. With that, the Presidents Cup was, as well.
The Americans will come in as the defending champions, having earned a 16-14 victory at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia. While that event had a similar ending to most Presidents Cups in the past, it had a dramatically different feel to it.
What is the history of this event? Who will we see this week and how can we see them? How is this event different from regular PGA Tour events that you might see during the season?
We answer those questions and more in this 2022 Presidents Cup primer, which will be helpful for longtime golf fans and newcomers, alike.
How to watch it
- Thursday, September 22: 12:30 p.m.-6 p.m. (Golf Channel)
- Friday, September 23: 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Golf Channel)
- Saturday, Sept. 24: 7-8 a.m. (Golf Channel), 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)
- Sunday, Sept. 25: 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC)
All times are EST. All four days will also be streamed on Peacock.
The Presidents Cup is broken up into 30 matches. Every match is contested for one point. In the event of a halve, each side will be awarded one-half point. The schedule is as follows.
- Thursday: Five foursomes matches
- Friday: Five four-ball matches
- Saturday: Four foursomes matches (Morning); Four four-ball matches (Afternoon)
- Sunday: 12 singles matches
Foursomes: 2-on-2, frequently known as alternate shot. Player 1 on Team A will tee off, Player B will hit the second shot. The two will continue to alternate until the hole is completed.
Of note, the alternate shot runs only through the duration of a hole. So, the player who finishes one hole could be the same one who starts the next one. The teams will decide which player will tee off on the first hole. That player will then tee off on every odd-numbered hole for the remainder of the session. His teammate will tee off on the even-numbered holes.
Four-ball: Also a 2-on-2 match, but each player plays his own ball throughout the hole. The team whose golfer has the lowest score will win the hole. For example, if Team A has one player make a birdie and the other makes a triple-bogey while Team B has two players make a par, Team A will win the hole. If Team A has one player make a par and the other one make a triple-bogey while Team B has two players make a par, the hole is halved.
Singles: 12 1-on-1 matches. Sunday singles is the only individual session in the Presidents Cup where all 24 players are in action.
Who are the important people this week?
Each team has 12 players. The American team is made up exclusively of American players while the International team is made up of non-American players who are not eligible for the Ryder Cup. Or, to put it another way, any player not from the United States or Europe is eligible for the International team.
- American team: Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Cameron Young, Kevin Kisner
- International team: Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Sungjae Im (South Korea), Joohyung Kim (South Korea), Corey Conners (Canada), Adam Scott (Australia), Mito Pereira (Chilie), Lee Kyoung-hoon (South Korea), Sebastián Muñoz (Colombia), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (South Africa), Taylor Pendrith (Canada), Kim Si-woo (South Korea), Cameron Davis (Australia)
Each team also has a captain and four assistant captains. While the captains and assistant captains are allowed to be on the playing roster (as Tiger Woods was in 2019), it’s rare. In 2022, none of the captains or assistant captains are playing.
The American captain is Davis Love III. His assistants are Fred Couples, Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson.
The International captain is Trevor Immelman (South Africa). His assistants are: K.J. Choi (South Korea), Geoff Ogilvy (Australia), Camilo Villegas (Colombia), Mike Weir (Canada).
How is match play than normal events?
Most events contested on the PGA Tour (and every other tour) are stroke play. The standard tournament is four 18-hole rounds. After 36 holes, there is a cut. The players who miss the cut go home and the players who make it play the final 36 holes. Of the players who make the cut, the one that finishes 72 holes with the lowest score wins.
While there are three different formats used at the Presidents Cup, all are match play. In match play, you’re competing for holes, not strokes.
And whether it’s a team in foursomes or four-ball or an individual, the players are also competing against one opponent. If Player/Team A makes a birdie and Player/Team B makes a par, Player/Team A wins one hole. The same is true if Player/Team A makes a birdie and Player/Team B makes a triple-bogey. So, no player/team will get too far ahead or behind based on one hole.
Another critical distinction in match play is that holes do not need always need to be finished. Frequently, if a player hits a shot that finishes within 2-3 feet of the hole, that putt will be conceded. If a Player/Team A is having a disastrous hole while Player/Team B is doing well, Player/Team A may concede the hole before even getting to the green.
Also, since the players and teams are competing for holes rather than strokes, matches frequently end before the 18th hole. If Team/Player A is up by four holes after the 15th hole is completed, the match is over.
- Dormie: This is when a player or team’s lead matches the number of holes remaining. If you hear “dormie” followed by a number, that number is how many holes are remaining. So, if Player/Team A is up by two holes after 16, the match is dormie two. All that Player/Team A needs to do is to halve one of the two remaining holes and the match will be over.
- Halve: To tie. This can be applied to holes, matches or individual sessions.
- In his pocket: If a player is having a particularly bad hole and won’t factor into its decision, he will often pick his ball up and not play the hole anymore. This will only come up in four-ball. In foursomes and singles, if a player opts to not finish the hole, the hole is over. In four-ball, one player can be in his pocket and his teammate can still win or halve the hole.
How have the first 13 Presidents Cups gone?
Generally speaking, very well for the American side. The United States has an overall record of 11-1-1 in the Presidents Cup. That includes a victory in each of the last eight events. Furthermore, the Americans have a perfect 7-0 mark in their home Presidents Cups, with all but one of those (a 16.5-15.5 victory in 1996) being decided by three points or more.
In 2017 — the most recent Presidents Cup held stateside — the Americans led 14.5-3.5 heading into the Sunday singles session. They needed only one full point to clinch victory. The Internationals did relatively well for themselves on that Sunday, winning the session. But the Americans cruised to an anticlimactic 19-11 victory.
How is this one different than the previous 13?
Two words: LIV Golf.
Golfers who joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League are ineligible for PGA Tour events. The PGA Tour doesn’t preside over any of the four majors so, as of now, those golfers can play in those events — much to the chagrin of the American captain. But the Presidents Cup? Not so much.
The International side has been rocked by this. Cameron Smith and Joaquín Niemann were the first and fourth highest qualifiers, respectively, for the International Team. Both joined LIV Golf and as such, neither is eligible.
All of the automatic qualifiers on the American side are eligible to play (though Will Zalatoris is out with an injury). Still, we can’t say that LIV hasn’t hurt the American roster, either. Odds are, if LIV Golf didn’t exist, we’d probably be seeing Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka at Quail Hollow.
What can the International team lean on to turn things around?
There are two things to draw from. Eight players on the International team are Presidents Cup rookies. If you’re trying to change history, would you rather have a bunch of guys who have been a part of the negative history or some fresh blood? And on a similar note, six of the 12 Americans are Presidents Cup rookies. So, many of the guys who have dominated the Presidents Cup won’t be playing this week.
There’s also history to draw from. For decades, the Ryder Cup was dominated by the American team. Starting in 1985, the Europeans have gone 11-6-1 (retaining the Ryder Cup in the year of the tie) at the Ryder Cup. That started in 1983, when after years of being pummeled by the American team, the Europeans narrowly lost, falling 14.5-13.5.
While the American team routed the International squad in the most recent Presidents Cup held stateside, the 2019 event at Australia’s Royal Melbourne was a narrow 16-14 victory. So, the rookies have nothing to do with the negative history while the returning players know that they can hang close with the American team.
What will Quail Hollow have to offer?
Quail Hollow is a Par 71 course that plays at about 7,600 yards. The venue figures to be challening. It hosted the PGA Championship in 2017 and will host it again in 2025. It also hosted one of the tour’s top events, the Wells Fargo Championship, from 2013-2016 and again from 2017-2021. Two players at the 2022 Presidents Cup have a win at Quail Hollow. Thomas won the 2017 PGA Championship while Homa won the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship.
Because it was a recent regular tour stop, Quail Hollow shown be well known to the players at the Presidents Cup. Still, it will be a little different.
The first eight holes will be played as normal. After that, though, the holes that are regular No. 9-11 will be bypassed. The regular 12th hole will become the 9th hole and the players will continue as normal through the regular 18th hole. Then, if the match hasn’t been decided, the regular 9th, 10th and 11th holes will be played as No. 16, 17 and 18. This is done to make it less likely that matches will end before the daunting “Green Mile,” which is made up of the regular 16th, 17th and 18th holes.
Which team holds the edge?
The Americans, and it’s not close.
Heading into the week, Matsuyama is the top-ranked player on the International team, sitting at No. 17 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The only American players ranked below him are Young and Kisner, who are No. 18 and No. 25, respectively. In addition to having every player on the American roster ranked inside of the top 25, six are in the top 10.
The Americans also hold an experience edge. While the Americans do have six Presidents Cup rookies, two of them (Scheffler and Morikawa) were on the 2021 Ryder Cup team and played well, going 3-0-1 and 2-0-1, respectively. So, eight of the 12 Americans are familiar with match play and the team formats.
Even if Smith and Niemann were on the International team, the United States would be heavily favored. Without them, the odds are even more stacked against the Internationals.
Immelman has his work cut out for him. He’s going to need to find the pairings that work best together and stick with them through the foursomes and four-ball sessions. Immelman will also need to identify his best players within the week. Those are not always the highest-ranked players.
Those challenges await Love, as well. But given his team’s vast edge in experience and in the world rankings, he has more margin for error.
Ultimately, the International team needs a lot to go right to come away with a win at Quail Hollow. Part of that formula will include multiple American players playing well below their expectations. It’s hard to imagine that happening.
This may not be the complete beatdown that we saw in 2017 but the Americans have a significant edge here. Because of that, we’ll say that the United States team will win, 17-13.