Predictable? Yes, day one (Thursday) at the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club went pretty much as planned, at least by the United States team.
Temperatures were in the mid 90s and for a brief 20 minutes late in the day, a front approached and winds gusted up to 30 miles per hour to create a bit of havoc, even if just briefly.
The real havoc came in the form of Team USA pretty much having its way with the under-manned Internationals.
With that in mind, we’re passing out performance grades for the 10 teams that went head-to-head in the fives alternate shot (Foursomes) matches.
Patrick Cantlay-Xander Schauffele: A true wrecking machine in the alternate shot format. The International team of Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott had no answer for the onslaught that came from these two Americans who have played a lot of golf with each other. They ran rough-shod over Scott and Matsuyama and tromped them into the Quail Hollow turf — winning in a 6-and-5 runaway. GRADE: A+
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas: These two buddies have this incredible strange brand of magic in team play and that was on display in their match with the second-best ball-striking team for the Internationals — Sungjae Im and Corey Conners. Neither Spieth nor Thomas had their best stuff but they manufactured the right shots and scrambled so very well. They totally stunned Im and Conners on the 15th hole when it looked like they’d lose the hole. They ended up winning it and went on for a very interesting 2-and-1 victory. GRADE: A
Cameron Young and Collin Morikawa: Everyone on the U.S. team wanted to play with Cameron Young. His tee shots have a different sound that matches his awesome distance off the tee. Morikawa was the lucky guy to play with Cam. They went up against the International team that probably played the best of the five International pairings — Tom Kim and K.H. Lee. They managed to keep it close but in the end, it was Young holing a 27-footer for birdie at the 17th to close out the International duo. GRADE: B+
Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns: This looked like a total mismatch on paper. World No. 1 Scheffler and No. 12 Burns vs. Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis. Si Woo Kim’s game has gone so far south he’s now using a long putter. Truth of the matter is that this U.S. pair went out and totally played like crap. They blew an early lead, they were 3-up through the first seven holes, which is a very big lead in this format. They went to hell in a hand basket on the back nine and lost the last four holes, playing them in two-over par. Scheffler and Burns lost 2 up and pretty much were the worst American pair on the course. GRADE: F
Tony Finau and Max Homa: Finau and Homa got a lot more than they bargained for from the duo of Mito (I blew the PGA) Pereira and Taylor Pendrith. Finau and Homa were huge favorites but found themselves tied up with the P-Men standing on the 18th tee. Mito channeled his choke at the PGA except this time he hit a snap-hook left that put partner Pendrith in a real jam. Pendrith managed to get his second into the right greenside bunker. Finau and Homa made par then Mito left his partner with a 10-footer for the tie. Of course the moment was too big for Pendrith and the Americans survived and won, 1-up. GRADE: C
Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott: These guys got totally run over. Scott looked like a guy past his prime and Matsuyama looked like a guy who hasn’t played much the past month or so. Cantlay and Schauffele stepped on their necks early and never backed off. Brutal start to the matches for Trevor Immelman. GRADE: F
Sungjae Im and Corey Conners: Two really good ball strikers who didn’t make the key putts that Spieth and Thomas did. They did the best they could. Big miss of the day came at the 15th when Conners missed a six-footer for par right after J.T. ran in a 27-foot par putt. GRADE: B-
Tom Kim and K.H. Lee: These guys had their work cut out for them with Young and Morikawa and they made a match of it. In the end, Morikawa’s iron shots and overall skill set along with Young’s enormous talent level were too much from Kim and Lee. They did a good job forcing the action to 17 holes where Young made that putt for the 2-and-1 win. GRADE: B
Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis: Give these guys a TON of credit. They rallied from being 3-down after seven holes and came on strong down to stretch to score the stunning upset of the day, taking down Scheffler and Burns. GRADE: A+
Mito Pereira and Taylor Pendrith: These guys had a legitimate shot at a win, a tie at worst until Mito did what Mito does under the heat — hit a crappy drive. Mito’s drive cost his team this point then his bunker shot left Pendrith with a 10-footer for the tie, something you don’t want to give a first-timer like Taylor. GRADE: D
There you have it. A darn nice day for Davis Love III’s team. Scheffler and Burns should have to buy dinner for the entire team.