2022 Presidents Cup Preview

2022 Presidents Cup Preview

The 14th running of the Presidents Cup will be held this week at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

It will be the first time this event has traveled to the South East, but it is far from the first time we have seen the course in action. Quail Hollow has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003, with the exception of 2017 and 2022.

Let’s take a quick dive into the course layout and then talk about each side of the contest that pits the United States team against the International Team.

The lesson

Looking at this week’s scoreboard, we see a par 71 that can stretch 7,571 yards from the tips. This is an elegant arrangement. Of course, there are various tee boxes that will mix and match, so we shouldn’t expect to see it come out every day.

On a hole-by-hole level, there are six par 4s that play over 460 yards.

Distance is a serious asset this week and that is borne out by the list of recent winners on the course. Since 2014 we have seen winners include JB Holmes, Rory McIlroy (x2), Justin Thomas, James Hahn, Jason Day and Max Homa. Not a single short player among the bunch.

Adding to the appeal of strength this week, the course hasn’t gone beyond fall, so the bermudas are rough that may be about to fall asleep for the season. This week it will be wall to wall bermuda. Notes from the ground crew read: “The pitch should accommodate long bowlers and not be so penal when balls are hit off-line.”

The other main story for the course is the re-routing for this week’s event. Routing will be 1-8, 12-18, 10-11 and then 9 for this week’s contest. This will allow the infamous Green Mile to be used in more races. This stretch of the Green Mile is holes No. 16 through 18 and is one of the toughest stretches of holes seen on the entire TOUR rotation. As the home team can build the course, it would make sense to take as many reps as possible on the more difficult holes if they believe they have an overall skill advantage.

Historically, Hole No. 15 has been played in 89.3% of Presidents Cup events, so we should expect to see the entire stretch of the Green Mile played in the majority, but not all, of the events.

The figure

Thursday: Five games of four
Friday: Five matches with four balls
Saturday morning: Thatch Four Foursome
Saturday afternoon: Four matches of four balls
Sunday: 12 singles matches

Foursomes = Alternate-Shoot between partners.

Four-ball = Everyone plays their own ball, going with the lowest score from each team on each hole.

All matches are worth one point, with no holes in the playoffs (half a point for each team for a tie).

Each player is only required to play one match before Sunday’s singles. This was a change brought into play for the 2019 edition (previously two matches were required to be played before the Sunday singles).

The United States team

The Americans are led by Davis Love III. They sit as a heavy favourite, currently -710 to win in the betting.

Team members: Sam Burns, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau, Max Homa, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Cameron Young

Rookies Cup Presidents (6): Burns, Homa, Horsell, Morikawa, Scheffler, Young

Team USA is 11-1-1 in this event, winning eight in a row heading into the 2022 edition. They are 7-0-0 at home.

The American team’s average OWGR rating is 11.6, the lowest of any team ever assembled in Presidents Cup history. Team USA’s average OWGR for 2019 was 12.2 which was also the lowest at the time. Their lead in the average OWGR ranking is 37.3 places which is the largest gap we have ever seen in the competition (+28.6 places in 2019). This doesn’t guarantee anything, of course. In fact, the second largest margin came in the 1998 edition (+20.8 places in favor of Team USA), but the international team went on to win that week.

Veterans: Jordan Spieth is the only American playing in his fourth Presidents Cup. He arrives with an 8-5-1 record in the tournament. Justin Thomas is next in line on the experience train as he prepares for his third Presidents Cup (6-2-2). We’ve seen these two good friends combine in tag team play before, but with them having the bulk of the experience, will they spread the word this week? There are pros and cons to each side of this decision, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

International team

Running the ship for the global team is Trevor Immelman. The 42-year-old is set to become the youngest captain in Presidents Cup history. Tiger Woods was 43 when he captained the United States in 2019.

Team members: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Corey Conners, Cam Davis, Sungjae Im, Si Woo Kim, Tom Kim, KH Lee, Hideki Matsuyama, Sebastian Munoz, Taylor Pendrith, Mito Pereira, Adam Scott

Rookies Cup Presidents (8): Bezuidenhout, Conners, Davis, Tom Kim, Lee, Munoz, Pendrith, Pereira

The main story for the international side is youth and inexperience. They bring eight rookies to the table, which is the most ever on one team in Presidents Cup history. The two teams combine to have 14 rookies this week, which is the most we’ve seen in the tournament (12 was the previous record set in 2019).

For age in general, the average age of the International Team is just 28.8 years. This is the lowest average age of any team in the history of the games. The international side has seen a drop in middle age in each of the last six editions.

Pendrith with something to prove? Taylor Pendrith picked up a captain’s pick this week, but only makes it to 109th on the OWGR. He is the lowest in the field this week and the second-lowest ranked golfer to ever play in the Presidents Cup. Will she use this as motivation to prove she belongs? He was chosen because of his strength and ability to keep pace off the tee.

Experience: While the majority of the squad are making their debuts this week, there are two key players in the dressing room, Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama. They are the only internationals to have played in more than one previous Presidents Cup. Matsuyama makes his fifth appearance (6-7-4), while Scott completes his 10th President’s Cup (16-22-6).

Summary

Team USA was already a heavy favorite for the 2022 Presidents Cup before the international team lost some key players recently to LIV Golf (most notably Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann). The Americans are 7-0-0 at home and their team is loaded with more players who fit the narrative of what is supposed to be playing well at the Quail Hollow Club. They will be hard to beat.

That said, International said he can embrace the underdog role and give them a fight this week in Charlotte. They have nothing to lose since most people already think they have.

One thing I found interesting was that the Internationals have actually won more four-ball matches historically (68 to 65), so that’s an angle to attack if you’re playing round-by-round fantasy contests or betting on the event.

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