CHARLOTTE, NC — The International Presidents Cup team has the next four days to change the story, but if history is any guide, their fate will likely be decided in Thursday’s opening foursome session.
Throughout the history of the matches, which span 13 encounters, the US team has dominated the alternative-shot format with an 83½-49½ advantage, and the international side has managed to win just five foursomes sessions outright, including a clean sweep in 1998.
The correlation is clear: that 1998 team was the only international team to win the Presidents Cup.
In 2019 in Royal Melbourne, the international team managed a 2½-2½ split during the Day 2 foursomes session, and that match amounted to a US rise in Sunday’s singles for a US two point win. Conversely, the American side crossed on Day 1 during the 2017 games and took an impressive 19-11 win.
A team could certainly recover from a poor performance on Day 1 of the alternate shot, but it’s not likely. It is a reality that the international side has been working on for the past three years.
“It’s hard to pinpoint, it really is. I think we have a solution. I think we have a strategy. You’ll see,” said Mike Weir, a vice captain for this year’s international team.
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At least part of Immelman’s foursome strategy seems to be fame, with the likes of Corey Conners and Sungjae. players, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay play. Im, Scott and Matsuyama are the only returnees from the Internationals as of 2019.
Immelman also leaned against his team’s relative inexperience in alternating shot, sending rookies Cam Davis and Si Woo Kim against the American team of Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns in a bid to break the cycle.
“It is certainly not a format that we are used to. I’ve only played kind of the alternative shot foursomes format a few times, and I think our team is young, we’re all really hungry,” Conners said. “We haven’t been part of those teams that have had a hard time, and I definitely like our chances.”