Day 1 of the 2022 Presidents Cup provided some good news and bad news for the International Team. The good news is that Si Woo Kim and Cameron Davis had a come-from-behind victory to pick up a full point over the United States team of Sam Burns and world No. 1, Scottie Scheffler. The bad news for the Internationals? There were four other matches.
If the International team is going to prevent the Americans from winning their ninth straight Presidents Cup, a hearty comeback will be required. For much of the day, it looked as though the United States might come away with a clean 5-0 sweep. But after Kim and Davis won their match, Taylor Pendrith and Miro Pereira came to the last hole tied with Tony Finau and Max Homa. A completely manageable 3-2 deficit seemed plausible for the Internationals. It didn’t happen.
Finau and Homa made par on the last hole, which Pendrith and Pereira could not answer. With that, the Americans won the match and will take a 4-1 lead into Friday’s four-ball session.
The tone was set early. International team captain Trevor Immelman sent out the pairing of Hideki Matsuyama (his best-ranked player) and Adam Scott (his most experienced player) first. They were dusted by Davis Love III’s lead-off pairing of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who came away with a 6 & 5 win. The remaining matches were all closer, with each of them reaching the 17th hole and two getting to 18.
But if there were any hopes that the International Team might win or at least keep it interesting until the end, they took a major blow on Thursday. The golf world couldn’t help but note how lopsided the day was.
Oh man. It’s getting late early at this Presidents Cup. Really, really early.
— Dan Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) September 22, 2022
The strongest duo on the international team didn’t make it past the 13th hole. pic.twitter.com/UjmFhAFCkC
— Michael Collins (@ESPNCaddie) September 22, 2022
It's actually kind of astounding that the International team is only down 4-1. They led after just three of 83 holes played today and somehow got a full point out of it.
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 22, 2022
By my count, team USA made 62 more feet of putts in today's matches than the International side.
USA made 5 putts of 15+ feet, Internationals just 1.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) September 22, 2022
17-point favorite out to a 14-0 lead before most fans find their seats. https://t.co/wzhddmzxY1
— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) September 22, 2022
If the International Team has any hope to draw from, it’s these two things.
One, at the last Presidents Cup, the Internationals led 4-1 after the opening session and the Americans came back to win. So, this lead can be overcome.
Two, Friday will be four-ball, or alternate shot. That puts less pressure on each individual player, as a struggling golfer can always be bailed out if his teammate has a good hole. That tends to be more suited to the underdog team. In this case, that’s the International side.
There’s still time for the Internationals to play their way back into the competition. That said, it feels like they’ll need a 3-2 win (or better) during four-ball play on Friday. If that can’t happen, it’s hard to imagine mich suspense heading into the weekend.