One might be forgiven for thinking this is the Precedents Cup after a familiar day 1 scoreline.
A new format, new location and new players couldn’t disguise a familiar, old feeling about the opening day of the 2015 Presidents Cup. As they have done in all but three of the previous 10 Presidents Cup encounters, the US team won the opening day taking a solid 4 – 1 lead in the Thursday foursomes.
The powerful American team was simply faultless taking a lead in all matches by the second hole. The Jimmy Walker/Rickie Fowler pairing were the stand-out with the duo carding a bogey-free 6-under par through 13 holes before beating debutants Anirban Lahiri and Thoongchai Jaidee 5&4.
There was some great golf from the rest of the Americans including a magnificent hole-out from a bunker from Phil Mickelson, some superb short iron play from Open Champion Zach Johnson and magnificent putting from JB Holmes. But they were let off the hook time and time again by the Internationals.
Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama failed to put any pressure on the Bubba Watson and JB Holmes, eventually losing 3&2. Scott was sporting a new caddie and new short putter but his crossed handed method didn’t make any impact on the greens.
Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson won their match 2up over Steven Bowditch and Jason Day with the Australians taking some heart out of their performance. After a superb birdie at the 17th, their match went to the final hole and the pair looked better as the match went on.
The power pairing of Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth never really looked threatened against Marc Leishman and Danny Lee. Lee and Leishman looked nervous against two of golf’s top players and were constantly dropping their ball away from hazards or chipping out of deep rough.
Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen managed to score the Internationals only point for the day after a very solid performance beating Matt Kuchar and Patrick Reed 3&2. Both South Africans had phenomenal year’s with both players threatening to win two majors in 2015. For Grace this was his first point in the Presidents Cup after losing all four matches in 2013.
The Internationals will welcome the inclusion of Charl Schwartzel back to the team after a mid-week illness kept him out of the starting line-up on Friday. He and South Korean Sangmoon Bae will play in the Friday four-ball format at the expense of Anirban Lahiri and Hideki Matsuyama.
The Americans will rest Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar will be replaced with Bill Haas and Chris Kirk.
Friday four-ball pairings and matches:
Jordan Spieth/Dustin Johnson v Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace
Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker v Danny Lee/Sangmoon Bae
Phil Mickelson/Zach Johnson v Adam Scott/Jason Day
Bubba Watson/JB Holmes v Marc Leishman/Steven Bowditch
Bill Haas/Chris Kirk v Charl Schwartzel/Thongchai Jaidee