Day 2 Presidents Cup Preview
Fireworks are set to erupt when the four-ball matches take centre stage on day 2 of the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
This type of format lends itself to aggression with pairings often adopting a strategy where the one player goes for broke on selected holes while the other opts for a more conservative approach.
International Team captain Greg Norman made the decision to change all his pairings for Day 2 while rival Fred Couples stuck to his original combinations, except for surprisingly splitting Woods and Stricker.
The essential four-ball guide for Friday (Team USA listed first) is as follows:
Bubba Watson (world ranked 17) and Webb Simpson (9) v Ernie Els (52) and Ryo Ishikawa (49) – The American duo were the pick of the bunch in the foursomes and should prove too strong again.
Tiger Woods (50) and Dustin Johnson (6) v Jason Day (8) and Aaron Baddeley (47) – What a match…should be a birdie blitz like no other but the Aussie combination to prevail in a nail-biter
Phil Mickelson (12) and Jim Furyk (41) v Adam Scott (7) and K T Kim (24) – Can’t understand why Norman split up the lethal Scott/Choi combination. The Queenslander will need to be at his brilliant best to keep the wily US veterans at bay.
Bill Haas (22) and Nick Watney (11) v Geoff Ogilvy (38) and K J Choi (15) – Ogilvy is the wildcard. If he plays well the Internationals can win but then again he could have an off day also.
Steve Stricker (5) and Matt Kuchar (10) v Y E Yang (43) and Robert Allenby (69) – All four of these players seem a little down on form for a variety of reasons. This one could go either way and no one would be surprised by the result.
Hunter Mahan (19) and David Toms (20) v Charl Schwartzel and Retief Goosen (51) – Unless the South African duo can recapture their best form they will go under against two experienced opponents with lots of confidence in each other.
Head-to-head betting at Sportingbet has the International and USA teams locked closely together despite the Americans being in front on points by 4 to 2 after Day 1.
The real shock of the opening exchanges was the massive 7 & 6 loss of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
This hammering may prove to be a body blow for the Americans and only time will tell if this result has ramifications as the week unfolds.
However the match also showed why Adam Scott is favourite with Sportingbet at $6 to be the individual points-leader in the competition.
The Queenslander was brilliant throughout the round and appears to be in total control of his game even on the famous Royal Melbourne greens that are lightning quick and running above 14 on the stimpmeter.
The other factor worth taking into account is the weather, with a forecast of strengthening northerly winds likely to make life more difficult for the 24 superstars taking part.
Punters should also note that tournament officials have moved tee times forward two hours due to the threat of thunderstorms in Melbourne. The first of six matches now go off at 9.45am.242 views