Saturday, October 10, 2015


USA lead by only one point but Internationals' singles line-up looks vulnerable

INCHEON, South Korea – The Presidents Cup is finally coming down to the Sunday singles, with the U.S. holding a slim 9.5-8.5 lead, the closest it's been prior to the final session since 2005 when the two teams were tied at 11 points apiece.
Saturday afternoon's session finished at 2pt apiece.
That year the U.S. won 7.5 of the 12 singles points and took a cup they had won in 2000 and retained after a tie in 2003, but now the Internationals have a legitimate chance to win for the first time since 1998, a position captain Nick Price had hoped would materialize when he lobbied to reduce the amount of matches.
“I can't actually single out one particular thing,” Price said when asked if the closeness of the matches can be attributed to the changes in the matches or how his players have performed. 
“But this is what we all came here for, for it to be exciting tomorrow. And obviously doing the singles, the setup for the singles is very difficult. But I'm going to go and ask my team to go and play golf tomorrow. 
"Each and every one of them has to play golf tomorrow and play to the very best of their ability. That's all we can do.”
If Price had a dilemma on Saturday night, it was the fact that he had a very strong team in South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, the first International team to win all four of its team matches, but the rest of the International pairs have generally struggled.
With Oosthuizen going out first on Sunday morning against Patrick Reed, the International line-up loses steam right from its second spot.
Rickie Fowler plays Adam Scott in Match No. 2 with Scott having a lacklustre Presidents Cup at 0-2-2.
Then Dustin Johnson plays Danny Lee. Lee, a rookie, sat out all of Saturday and has a record of 1-1-0 in his first Presidents Cup.
Rounding out the first four pairings, J.B. Holmes will play Hideki Matsuyama
Matusyama has a record of 1-1-1.
That leaves Price not with a front loaded line-up, but a rickety trio in Scott, Lee and Matsuyama that have combined for a 2-4-3 record.
“I think it's an even spread, if you ask me, (top to) bottom," Price said. “You know what, you top load our top six or seven players on either team, (and they) are so evenly matched. It's a call. I mean, that's what you do. 
"It's a call as a captain, and I think we all four of us went with our guts, gut feelings up there, as to how we do it. And I think we got some really good match-ups tomorrow."
Price is faced with the fact that none of his four Australians, Steven Bowditch, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Scott, have won any of their matches – faltering to a combined record of 0-9-4 record.
The rookies, Sangmoon Bae, Steven Bowditch, Danny Lee, Thongchai Jaidee and Anirban Lahiri, have had some success going 4-6-1, but Price benched Bowditch, Lee and Jaidee on Saturday, not necessarily a confidence booster.
But maybe the move that may be questioned for a while, is putting South Korean Bae, with a record of 2-0-1 in the 12th spot against Bill Haas instead of in a place where he could not only get an early point, but stir the partisan crowd.
In the end, Price has been consistent that his team must play well on Sunday to win the cup, but clearly much will need to go right for that possibility to become reality.
“You get six of what you want and you get six of what you don't want when you do it this way,” Price said of the match-ups. "So it's a tough call. I mean, basically, you go to your team and say, guys, you've all got to go out and play golf tomorrow. I think they are all aware of it."


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