Americans Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, both ranked in the top five in the world, will face Masters winners Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott when the Presidents Cup kicks off on Thursday.
The pairs for the opening five fours (alternative shot) were drawn in Quail Hollow on Wednesday by Internationals captain Trevor Immelman and American captain Davis Love.
“There were a lot of obvious couples and a lot of guys who really get along well,” Love said. “The obvious ones made the others a little harder.”
Tokyo Olympic champion, Schauffele, in fifth place, and Cantlay, the 2021 PGA play-off winner, in fourth place, went 2-0 together in foursomes during last year’s Ryder Cup and the 2019 Presidents cup.
“We just spent a lot of time together,” Cantlay said. “He is very intelligent, thinks carefully. He is a man who leaves no stone unturned.”
“You get to know each other really well when you’re in these team spaces and it’s not difficult,” Schauffele said. “He’s a real guy.”
It’s a crucial start for Australian Scott, who is looking for a first win in his 10th Cup appearance, and also for Japan’s Matsuyama, the veteran world leaders who hope to inspire the best from a record eight rookie teammates.
“We probably need most of our guys to peak this week to really take the US team down,” said Scott. “It’s hard to do. They have to embrace it and put it all on the golf course.”
The Americans lead 11-1-1 in the rivalry with eight consecutive triumphs and have never lost to the non-European side on home soil.
While the Americans boast 12 of the top 25 players in the world and are overwhelming favorites, the underdog Internationals have embraced an attitude of nothing to lose.
“We feel that our best wave is more than enough to not only compete, but also win many matches,” said Australian Cameron Davis.
“I don’t think any of us think it’s going to be a steamroller the other way. We feel like it could be a shock, which would be great.”
Thursday’s second game pits the American duo of two-time big winner Justin Thomas and three-time big winner Jordan Spieth against South Korean Im Sung-jae and Canadian Corey Conners.
South Koreans Lee Kyoung-hoon and Kim Joo-hyung meet two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Cameron Young in match three.
“They lined up to play with Cam Young,” Love said. “Collin had the experience. A very similar type of clutch. You get a guy that rides it really long and really straight and a guy that’s really stable, a great ball striker.”
– ‘We are ready for battle’ –
Reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and fellow American newcomer Sam Burns take on Kim Si-woo and Davis in match four, while the final match-up takes on Americans Max Homa and Tony Finau against Canada’s Taylor Pendrith and Chilean Mito. Pereira finds.
“We have some good combinations. I can’t wait to get started,” Pendrith said. “We are all twelve ready to go. We are here and we are ready to fight.”
On Friday there will be five four-ball (best ball) games with four games in each format on Saturday and 12 closing singles on Sunday with 15.5 points to claim the trophy.
Kevin Kisner and Billy Horschel will serve out the first day for the Americans, while the Internationals will seat Colombian Sebastian Munoz and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
The Internationals lost several top players who jumped from the PGA Tour to the LIV Golf Series, rendering them ineligible for the Presidents Cup, including world number three Cam Smith, British Open champion from Australia and Joaquin Niemann from Chile .
Immelman hopes that the youngest Internationals line-up ever can thrive on the enthusiasm of so many newcomers.
“They’re just so excited. Everything is new and fresh,” Immelman said. “It’s like Christmas morning when you can’t wait to open your presents.”