JERSEY CITY, N.J. – It’s not often in professional sports that a match or game becomes as one-sided as the 12th Presidents Cup.
Over three days and 18 matches at Liberty National Golf Club, the U.S. team has done very little wrong, while the Internationals have failed to slow the American juggernaut. Winning only two matches is no formula for success for the visitors.
Unfortunately for the Internationals, they will have to play one more day. The Americans, who have racked up a 14½-3½ lead, need to win only one point from the 12 singles matches today to retain the cup and stretch their overall record to 10-1-1 (scores and pairings: http://bit.ly/2xzUKfk).
The only drama entering this afternoon’s play will be whether the U.S. can run up the score enough to eclipse a 21½-10½ rout in 2000 and set a record for victory margin. With the reduction in matches from 34 to 30 two years ago, supposedly to minimize the Americans’ depth, the records for victory differential (11½ points) and total points (21½) seemingly would have been put out of reach. However, if the Americans win seven points today, they will amass a 13-point margin of victory and set the record for most points.
As if the U.S. didn’t have enough going for it this week, history also is cloaked in red, white and blue. The Americans have won nine of the 11 singles sessions in past Presidents Cups and hold a cumulative 10-point lead in those sessions. In five of those nine winning sessions, the U.S. earned seven or more points.
“This will be a learning experience for a lot of guys [Sunday],” U.S. captain Steve Stricker said. “It's different playing with a big lead like we have, and so the message is, It's not over yet, either. Even though we need a full point, it's not over, and we have to go out and still take care of business.”
Today’s pairings (times Eastern):
12:04 p.m.: Kevin Chappell (U.S) vs. Marc Leishman
12:15 p.m.: Charley Hoffman (U.S.) vs. Jason Day
12:26 p.m.: Justin Thomas (U.S.) vs. Hideki Matsuyama
12:37 p.m.: Daniel Berger (U.S.) vs. Si Woo Kim
12:48 p.m.: Matt Kuchar (U.S.) vs. Charl Schwartzel
12:59 p.m.: Patrick Reed (U.S.) vs. Louis Oosthuizen
1:10 p.m.: Dustin Johnson (U.S.) vs. Branden Grace
1:21 p.m.: Brooks Koepka (U.S.) vs. Adam Scott
1:32 p.m.: Jordan Spieth (U.S.) vs. Jhonattan Vegas
1:43 p.m.: Kevin Kisner (U.S.) vs. Anirban Lahiri
1:54 p.m.: Phil Mickelson (U.S.) vs. Adam Hadwin
2:05 p.m.: Rickie Fowler (U.S.) vs. Emiliano Grillo