The Presidents Cup is over. The United States will improve to 10-1-1 in what may become the most uncompetitive edition in the already uncompetitive history of this international match play event.
Friday’s Four-ball session was a must-win for the International team after the US took 3.5 of a possible five points from Thursday’s Foursomes. Hell, they didn’t even need to win the session. But they had to at least split it — get 2.5 points. They just could not let the two-point margin widen, especially in a format, Four-ball, where they have held their own and been even slightly better than the Americans in recent years.
What occurred was not that. The Friday Four-ball was almost a full American wipeout, with the margin growing to a massive 8-2. Sure, that’s just 10 of the 30 points in this competition decided, but that six-point margin is insurmountable in a match play event like this. It will take a total miracle from an International team that was already overwhelming underdogs before a ball was struck. We’re now seeing why the Americans were such heavy favorites, as they’ve completely overmatched the Internationals in both formats over two days.
It’s been such a rout that the US even has a chance, albeit slim, to get the requisite amount of points to win the cup on Saturday. They would need to win 7.5 of the 8 points in that double session, which is highly unlikely, but they way they’re rolling now, it’s not impossible. It would render Sunday’s 12 singles matches moot and maybe get the PGA Tour out of the sticky predicament of hosting President Donald Trump, who is reported to be attending Sunday’s matches (the Marine One choppers running practice landings at this Jersey harbor venue late on Friday would seem to be a strong indication that the Pres will be coming).
We don’t need to go through the blow-by-blow of a blowout. The US rolled and could have won all five, if a Jordan Spieth putt had juuust fallen in the edge of the cup on the 18th. Instead, that Spieth and Reed duo had to settle for a half point.
The best celebration came from the American team of Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell, who rode the bench on Thursday. They were obviously fired up to get in and play in what is their first ever team event, Ryder or Presidents Cup. And the two had an awesome celebration ready for their debut in a match they dominated from the very first hole. They went to a bash brothers maneuver and then won by a massive 6&5 margin to get the first point of the day.
The worst celebration was our last of the day.
As I was walking from the 14th green to the 15th tee, I overheard Amy Mickelson chatting with Chappell and Hoffman’s caddies, Joe Greiner and Brett Waldman, as they got a ride in with the bags after already clinching their point. The caddies and Amy were beaming and could not stop talking about “how fun this is,” and that they thought Kisner had it on the 14th green, where a bomb of a putt from off the green hit the cup and rolled out. The loopers then said “we know they got something planned.”
After hearing that, I could not wait to see what was coming and was just hoping that the Mickelson-Kisner duo would do something to either win a hole in a big way or clinch their match. Then we got it on the 18th hole, where Phil rolled in a birdie that won the final point of the day to push it to 8-2.
After the round, Phil copped that “I can’t dance and I can’t take a selfie but I can putt.” It was bad, hilariously bad, but a fun way to end the day. Tiger’s fist in the air in victory was pretty freaking cool too in the background.
The best shot I saw all day was Justin Thomas’ hole-out from the bunker at the 14th hole, which is the 18th for the usual layout here at Liberty National. Thomas short-sided himself in a bunker, but got out of the trouble by just holing out from the sand. And as he always does, Thomas put a little sauce on it with his hand in the air with the ball several feet from the hole and still sloping towards the cup.
Moments later, both Jason Day and Mickelson tried to do the same, with even Phil asking his caddie brother to pull the flag because he was planning on putting it right at the hole. But only JT pulled it off and it was just one great shot in match where they took out the previously undefeated South African duo of Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen.
Not to pick on him, but International captain’s pick Anirban Lahiri came off the bench on Friday for his first match. And from the very first tee box, he and Charl Schwartzel looked out of it. Lahiri’s tee shot at No. 1 was a hard, hard yank right into the water. That set the tone for an easy Chappell and Hoffman win that ended on the 13th green.
Here are your final results from Friday’s Four-ball:
Session 2 — Five Four-ball Matches, USA wins 4.5 to .5, leads 8-2 overall
- INTL Hideki Matsuyama/Adam Hadwin vs. USA Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed, Halved
- INTL Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace vs. USA Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas, USA wins, 3&2
- INTL Jason Day/Marc Leishman vs. USA Kevin Kisner/Phil Mickelson, USA wins, 1 up
- INTL Charl Schwartzel/Anirban Lahiri vs. USA Kevin Chappell/Charley Hoffman, USA Wins, 6&5
- INTL Adam Scott/Jhonattan Vegas vs. USA Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka, USA Wins, 3&2
Thursday’s Session 1 — Five Foursomes Matches — USA leads 3.5-1.5
- INTL Hideki Matsuyama/Charl Schwartzel vs. USA Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas — USA wins, 6&4
- INTL Adam Scott/Jhonattan Vegas vs. USA Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar — USA wins, 1 up
- INTL Si Woo Kim/Emiliano Grillo vs. USA Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed — USA wins, 5&4
- INTL Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace vs. USA Daniel Berger/Brooks Koepka — International wins, 3&1
- INTL Jason Day/Marc Leishman vs. USA Kevin Kisner/Phil Mickelson — Halved