The 14th running of the Presidents Cup is scheduled to take place this week at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This is 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 quickly jump into the course layout and then let’s move on to talk about each side of the competition that sets Team USA against the International Team.
Looking at the scorecard this week, we see a par 71 that can stretch out to 7,571 yards from the tips. That’s a beefy layout. Of course, there are different tea boxes that will be mixed and matched so we shouldn’t expect to see them out every day.
At hole-by-hole level, it is a par 4 that plays over 460 yards.
Distance is a big advantage this week and a list of recent course winners backs that up. Since 2014, winners have included JB Holmes, Rory McIlroy (x2), Justin Thomas, James Hahn, Jason Day, and Max Homa. No short hitter among the bunch.
Adding to the appeal of power this week, the course is unsupervised for the fall so it’s a rough bermuda of sports that could be close to falling asleep for the season. It will be wall-to-wall bermudagrass this week. Notes from the ground staff read, “The course should accommodate long ball hitters and be less punishing when balls are hit out of line.”
The other main news about the course is the rerouting of this week’s event. The routing will be 1-8, 12-18, 10-11, then 9 for this week’s tournament. This will allow the famous Green Mile to be used in more games. Holes No. 16 to 18 in that stretch of the Green Mile and it’s one of the toughest stretches of hole on the entire TOUR route. With the home team able to set up the course, it would make sense for them to get as many reps as possible on the hardest holes if they think they have an overall skill advantage.
Historically, Hole No. 15 in 89.3% of Presidents Cup games so we should expect to play the entire stretch of the Green Mile in the majority of games, but not all.
Thursday: Game Five Foursomes
Friday: Five Four Ball Games
Saturday morning: Four Foursomes Game
Saturday evening: Four Game Four Balls
Sunday: 12 Single Game
Foursomes = Alternate-Shot between partners.
Four ball = Everyone playing their own ball, going with the lowest score from each team on each hole.
Each game is worth one point, with no play-off holes (half a point for each team for a goal).
Each player must play only one match before the Sunday singles matches. This was a change that affected the 2019 edition (previously it had to play two matches before the Sunday singles).
The United States team
The Americans are captained by Davis Love III. They are sitting as a heavy favorite, currently -710 to win on the betting boards.
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
President’s Cup Rookies (6): Burns, Homa, Horschel, Morikawa, Scheffler, Young
Team USA is 11-1-1 at this event, having won eight in a row before the 2022 edition. They are 7-0-0 on home soil.
The American side’s average OWGR is 11.6, the lowest of any team in Presidents Cup history. The average OWGR of the 2019 USA team was 12.2, which was also the lowest at the time. Their advantage in the average OWGR ranking is 37.3 spots, which is the largest gap we have ever seen at the tournament (+28.6 spots in 2019). That doesn’t guarantee anything, of course. In fact, the second largest gap came at the 1998 edition (+20.8 spots 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 at the event. 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 play as a team before but with most of their experience, will they spread it out this week? There are pros and cons to both sides of that decision so we’ll have to wait and see.
Trevor Immelman is steering the ship for the world team. 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
President’s Cup Rookies (8): Bezuidenhout, Conners, Davis, Tom Kim, Lee, Munoz, Pendrith, Pereira
Youth and inexperience is the main story for the international side. They are bringing eight rookies to the table, the most ever assembled on one team in Presidents Cup history. Both teams combined to have 14 rookies this week, which is the most we’ve seen at the event (the previous record was 12 which occurred in 2019).
In terms of age in general, the average age of the International Team is 28.8 years. That is the lowest average age of any team in the competition’s history. The International side has trended down in the middle ages in each of the last six editions.
Pendrith with something to prove? Taylor Pendrith received a captain’s pick this week but only ranks 109th in the OWGR. That’s the lowest in the field this week and the second-lowest grade in golf ever to play in the Presidents Cup. Will he use that as motivation to prove he belongs? He was chosen for his power and ability to keep pace off the tee.
Experience: While most of the team is making their debut this week, there are two staples in the locker room, Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama. They are the only Internationals to have played in more than one President’s Cup before. Matsuyama (6-7-4) is making his fifth appearance while Scott is closing in on his 10th Presidents Cup (16-22-6).
The United States squad was already well advanced for the 2022 Presidents Cup before the International side recently lost several key players in LIV Golf (Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann, in particular). The Americans are 7-0-0 at home and their team is filled with more players to fit the big hitting story that is set to play well at Quail Hollow Club. They will be hard to beat.
That being said, the International said to accept the underdog role and give them a fight this week in Charlotte. They have nothing to lose because most of the world already thinks they are lost.
One thing I found interesting is that the Internationals have historically won more Four-ball games (68 to 65) and that could be one angle to attack if you’re playing round-robin fantasy tournaments or betting on the event.