2022 Presidents Cup Picks: Predictions for Thursday’s Day 1 Matchups
Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele (left) and Justin Thomas.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At precisely 4 p.m. ET, Presidents Cup captains Davis Love III and Trevor Immelman sat down with their assistants in the Quail Hollow interview room to set the matches for Thursday’s opening foursomes session.
After a two-minute introduction, the International team announced its first pairing. Within four minutes, as both captains went back and forth, all five matches were on the board.
If only your fantasy football draft had gone so quickly.
Let’s break down the five matches they produced.
Odds via SuperBook in Las Vegas.
Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele -165 (USA) vs. Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama +145 (INTL)
Calling this an important match for the International side is like referring to a Week 3 game as a “must-win” for an NFL team. That said, there’s something to this idea. Rather than pairing Scott and Matsuyama with inexperienced rookies, Immelman put his two most veteran players together, hoping to get off to a quick start. After deferring and being able to go second for this opening match, Love went with the unsinkable buddy duo of Cantlay and Schauffele, who not only went 2-0-0 as partners at last year’s Ryder Cup, but won the Zurich Classic together earlier this year.
The Pick: Cantlay/Schauffele
The American cabinet looked like it knew the Internationals were going with a few big guns right out of the gate and they were prepared for it. I would have preferred to see Scott and Matsuyama as influencers with some rookies. Let’s roll with Cantlay/Schauffele until they give us reason not to.
Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas -140 (USA) vs. Sungjae Im/Corey Conners +120 (INTL)
Look, I’m on record as saying Thomas will be the top points-winner for the U.S. side this week, but he and his good buddy will have their hands full with what I believe is the International team’s best pairing for the opening session. Im and Conners are a couple of world-class ball-strikers who won’t shoot themselves out of any hole. Expect a tight battle throughout, where maybe only a handful of holes are won by either team.
The Pick: Draw
Yup, I’m gonna sit right on top of the ol’ fence for this one, which should prove to be the best match of the opening session. Thomas and Conners should knock a few iron shots to gimme range, while Spieth and Im will produce some fireworks around the greens. Give me the plus-money on a tie.
Cameron Young/Collin Morikawa -170(USA) vs. Tom Kim/K.H. Lee +150 (INTL)
Here’s your Lee Corso “not so fast” special of the day. I was a bit worried about Morikawa being lost without a partner now that Dustin Johnson isn’t around and while Young provides similar length and laid-back demeanor, the pressure now falls to Morikawa to be the alpha in this pairing, which could prove a bit tricky. Meanwhile, Kim has quickly endeared himself to teammates as their new favorite guy to hang out with and Lee crushed everybody when the team came to Quail Hollow for a scouting mission a few weeks ago.
The Pick: Kim/Lee
This feels like a great spot for the International side to pick off an early win and try to gain some much-needed momentum. The more I hear about Kim, the more I think he could wind up being the darling of this competition by the time it’s all said and done.
Scottie Scheffler/Sam Burns -185 (USA) vs. Si Woo Kim/Cam Davis +165 (INTL)
I wouldn’t say Immelman totally front-loaded his lineup, but it does seem like he’s trying to get a few points on the board early, then hope that momentum flows to the last few matches. That’s a nice idea, but could leave something to be desired come Thursday afternoon. There really is no front- or back-loading for a U.S. team which is so strong. If you didn’t think Scheffler and Burns were going to play together, well, you just haven’t been paying attention, as the two good friends always seemed destined to at least get one match with each other, if not a few more.
The Pick: Scheffler/Burns
The American tandem should outclass the opponents here, both in skill level and camaraderie. Kim and Davis each own some form and some firepower, but it won’t be enough in this one.
Tony Finau/Max Homa -165 (USA) vs. Taylor Pendrith/Mito Pereira +145 (INTL)
I was hoping we’d get to see Finau and Homa together, as they seem the most likely to become new BFFs, posting birdies all over the place and punctuating ‘em with maybe a secret handshake. Tough draw here for Pendrith, as his game should suit this course, but Pereira hasn’t been the same player recently, with four missed cuts and nothing inside the top-40 in his last six starts.
The Pick: Finau/Homa
It could get late early, to use a Yogi-ism, if the Americans get rolling here. I do believe that will happen – to the extent that I think this match, even though it’ll be the last one out of the box, could finish before two or three others.