The 2019 Presidents Cup is behaving like a Ryder Cup: thrilling fist punches, dramatic late-match swings, and a bit of back-and-forth taunting between players and crowds. It’s everything golf fans wanted, but few expected.
With two days in the bag, the International Team has a surprising three-point advantage over the heavily favored US Team.
The FanDuel sportsbook has the International squad favored heading into Saturday at -110, the US now the underdog at +140. A $100 bet on those odds, respectively, wins $90.91 and $140.
During Friday’s foursomes, it appeared the Internationals were going to further extend their lead after going up 4-1 on Thursday. But the US made three back-nine rallies, including two “walk-off,” match-winning putts on the 18th hole to salvage a session split.
The US seems to have the momentum, but International captain Ernie Els countered, “It’s perspective, isn’t it? It’s easy to just look at where we could have been, because it was looking really unbelievable. But we’re in a very good position.”
Back to Fourball
Unlike Thursday and Friday, Saturday consists of two sessions. The early morning tees off with four matches of fourball.
US playing captain Tiger Woods, who has been his team’s best player and won both of his matches alongside Justin Thomas, is sitting out the morning session.
That was kind of the game plan,” Woods explained. “It would be hard for me to go to all the sessions. I’ve been fortunate enough to go out there with JT and we’ve gotten two points.”
Thomas will instead pair up with pal Rickie Fowler in the opening Saturday match. They are favored at -115 against Haotong Li and Marc Leishman.
Of the four matches, the US is favored in three, International leader Adam Scott’s match being the exception.
Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele +100 vs. Abraham Ancer/Sungjae Im +140
Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed +115 vs. CT Pan/Hideki Matsuyama +125
Tony Finau/Matt Kuchar +150 vs. Byeong Hun An/Adam Scott -105
Simpson and Reed have gone 0-2 partnered together over the first two days. Reed has battled some boisterous crowds after he was penalized a week ago at the Hero World Challenge for improving his lie – which many have deemed as Reed being caught cheating.
Woods, however, is sticking with the duo. “Well, they have paired-up well, and they have played well; unfortunately, they just haven’t won points,” Woods explained.
“But they have done all the little things right. It’s just a matter of having things go your way, and that’s part of playing these team sessions. A putt here, a shot here or there, you just get outplayed, it happens,” Woods reasoned.
How Friday morning’s matches play out will dictate pairings for the afternoon session of four foursomes.
Woods is largely expected to put himself back into action regardless, and will hope a morning off for Dustin Johnson will have him rested and able to turn out a point – though Royal Melbourne admittedly might not be the best track in the world for Johnson’s powerful game.
Sunday will conclude the 2019 Presidents Cup with 12 singles matches.