The Thursday first-round foursomes for The Presidents Cup have been announced, with the US sending out its biggest guns in five pairings against the squad from Australia, Asia, and Africa.
World No. 1 Jordan Spieth will team with Dustin Johnson against the Australian duo of Danny Lee and Marc Leishman in the last match of the day, due to tee off at 11:57 a.m. local time in Incheon City.
If you’re trying to keep up in your own locale, Incheon City is eight hours ahead of London and 13 hours ahead of New York City.
World No. 2 Jason Day teams up with fellow Aussie Steven Bowditch against the two most seasoned members of Team USA – Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson.
Other matchups for the first day include:
11:05 a.m.: Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes vs. Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama
11:18 a.m.: Matt Kuchar/Patrick Reed vs. Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace
11:31 a.m.: Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker vs. Anirban Lahiri/Thongchai Jaidee
International coach Nick Price acknowledged he is aware that the media and fans want to see No. 1 Spieth and No. 2 Day go head-to-head.
“I’m not going to put matchups just because what the media wants. OK, and what the world wants,” Price said. “I’m going to put matchps there that I feel are best for our team. That’st he msot important thing.”
There have been slight tweaks to the scoring system this year. There will be nine foursome doubles matches, nine fourball doubles matches, and 12 singles matches for a total of 30 points, meaning it will take 15.5 points to win.
Jack Nicklaus’ famous name graces the course in Incheon, looking like it might be a spot in Florida or the Carolinas given its green grass, water hazards, and tree lines.
Opened in 2010, the course sits on more than 10 million square feet and plays to more than 7,300 yards. The longest hole is No. 3, a par-5, 591-yarder that demands a far right approach because of prevalent water and sand hazards.
The Matches in Detail
Match 1: Scott/Matsuyama vs. Watson/Holmes – Watson is 2-0-0 in limited action here, while Holmes is a rookie. Scott and Matsuyama went 1-2-1 in 2013 here, and Scott is very experienced, with 12 matches but only a 4-7-1 record. Holmes is a late replacement for Jim Furyk.
Match 2: Oosthuizen/Grace vs. Kuchar/Reed – Kuchar has the most experience, just four matches, while the South Africans are a combined 0-3. However the two each had two top-5 finishes at Majors this year.
Match 3: Lahiri/Jaidee vs. Fowler/Walker – It’s the debut for all four players, although Fowler and Walker were paired together in last year’s Ryder Cup, where the compiled an 0-1-3 record together. Lahiri and Jaidee were paired together at the 2014 Eurasia Cup but never actually took the course.
Match 4: Day/Bowditch vs. Mickelson/Johnson – Mickelson’s experience in this format is ridiculous; he’s 10-6-3 in 19 matches; the rest of the guys going Thursday for the US have a combined 15 matches of experience. Johnson is actually the second-most experienced player active for the US, with a 4-2 record. Day is 0-2-2, Bowditch a rookie.
Match 5: Lee/Leishman vs. Spieth/Johnson – For all the firepower on the US side, Spieth and Johnson are a combined 2-0-1 here. Spieth was one of several players to request Johnson as a playing partner. Apparently being ranked No. 1 in the world has some pull.