Matt Kuchar, Tiger Woods — AP
You've seen the pairings, but we will make our picks on how the first matches at this Presidents Cup will go.
Match 1 -- Jason Day & Graham DeLaet versus Hunter Mahan & Brandt Snedeker -- I actually really liked the Nick Price decision to stick DeLaet, one of the hottest players on tour, out with Day, one of the most talented players on the International squad, and I think they drew a winnable pairing going up against Mahan and Snedeker. I think the Americans keep it close for a lot of the match, but I see the Internationals stealing this early point on Thursday to get some momentum going for the visiting side.
Match 2 -- Adam Scott & Hideki Matsuyama versus Bill Haas & Webb Simpson -- If Price was going to make the decision to send out his power pairings early, he did it with these first two matches, following that impressive one-two punch of DeLaet and Day with the best player on the International team in Scott. A lot of people might not know a ton about Matsuyama but if it wasn't for Jordan Spieth he would be the most talked about youngster at this event. I'm going to give this full point to the Internationals as well because I think Scott's superstar presence actually helps Matsuyama feel comfortable and play his own game.
Match 3 -- Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel versus Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley -- This pairing is like eating comfort food when you go visit your parents, because all four of these guys will feel as at ease as possible with their respective partner. Oosthuizen and Schwartzel are friends that go way back, but I think this Mickelson-Bradley pairing is the best card that Fred Couples has to play and I see the two running through this South African group to get the first full point for the Americans.
Match 4 -- Ernie Els & Brendon de Jonge versus Steve Stricker & Jordan Spieth -- The interesting thing about this fourth match in the four-ball is that it appears to be a layup for the Americans, but is a very important momentum match for both teams. If the Internationals win this it would definitely be considered an upset and would swing a ton of the early momentum towards Price and his players, while the Americans must be feeling that this is a "lock" of sorts considering how Stricker and Spieth played during the FedEx Cup playoffs. I see the Americans winning this match, but I definitely think it will be closer than a lot of people expect.
Match 5 -- Angel Cabrera & Marc Leishman versus Tiger Woods & Matt Kuchar -- I'm going to chalk this one up to "knowing Muirfield Village like the back of their respective hands" for the United States duo of Kuchar (won the Memorial this year) and Tiger (has won it five times, including last season) and give the full point to the Americans despite Woods' weak record in this format over the years (he's 5-9-0 in the four-ball format at the Presidents Cup).
Match 6 -- Branden Grace & Richard Sterne versus Jason Dufner & Zach Johnson -- If Johnson was 100 percent healthy I would think the Americans could roll in this match considering what these two did at the Ryder Cup a season ago, but with him a little under the weather I'm going to call this match halved and say it's the one match that pushes in the morning.
Prediction after Thursday four-ball -- USA, 3.5 - Internationals, 2.5
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