Team members build their ultimate Presidents Cup players, on both sides

·6 min read

The U.S. are already overwhelming favorites to win this week’s Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow. But what if you took the best skills on each side and morphed them into one ultimate Presidents Cupper?

While the International team room was decimated by the LIV Golf defections, the U.S. side has withstood its losses of prospective players by fielding a 12-man squad that includes 11 of the top 18 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. So, clearly the home team has more talent to choose from.

Still, it’s an interesting thought: Which player is the best on each team in driving, iron play, short game and putting? Here’s what the strokes-gained stats say, with the player’s rank in parentheses:

Off the tee: Cameron Young (2), Sungjae Im (8)

Approach: Collin Morikawa (3), Hideki Matsuyama (6)

Around the green: Billy Horschel (8), Sungjae Im (12)

Putting: Kevin Kisner (9), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (6)

But what do the players think? There was time Tuesday afternoon for several American and International team members to offer their thoughts:

U.S.

Billy Horschel

Driving: Max Homa

Iron play: Jordan Spieth (or Justin Thomas)

Short game: Justin Thomas, though he said “wedges”

Putting: Sam Burns

Explanation: “I think Max Homa is driving the ball really well right now. I watched a little bit last week. He's swinging it so good right now. What he's done over the last 18 months has been impressive. I'm trying to think of all the guys on the team, 12 guys. Yeah, I would say with length and straightness, he's right there. Iron play, I'd either go with Jordan or Justin. Wedge play, I'd go with J.T. probably. And putting, Sam Burns. Sam's a really good putter. I played with him at Zurich, so I see a lot of it. … You can't go wrong. I could take any part of these guys, and it would be unbelievable. To pick one from 12 guys, it's tough. Man, I'm leaving this guy on the bench and that guy. You could pick each part of our game and piece it together, and you'd get one helluva player.”

Jordan Spieth

Driving: Cameron Young

Iron play: Collin Morikawa

Short game: Anyone

Putting: Xander Schauffele

Explanation: “Well, I haven't played with Cameron Young, but I watched him hit three drives this morning, and I don't know if anybody could hit a drive like that, that long and straight. I'd say he hits a tee ball. I'd probably pick J.T. for approaches. You could go to anybody, Collin for approaches. It's hard because it's like everyone's got a great short game. Xander is probably the most consistent, top-10putter in the world on our team. So hopefully that answered that.”

Scottie Scheffler

Driving: Cameron Young

Iron play: Collin Morikawa

Short game: Jordan Spieth

Putting: Jordan Spieth

Explanation: “OK, wow, you're hitting me with a hard one here. I'd probably let Jordan putt. Might let him chip, too. He's pretty good at that kind of stuff. Let's see, who else is on the team? This is hard off the spot. Who hits it the farthest? Finau probably? Cam Young? Yeah, I'd say Cam Young hitting the tee balls, and then maybe Collin with the irons. Hope I didn't offend anybody on the team with that answer. I don't know if that was correct or not.”

Max Homa

Driving: Cameron Young

Iron play: Collin Morikawa

Short game: Jordan Spieth

Putting: Sam Burns

Explanation: “That's tough. I guess I want a driver like Cam Young, irons like Collin, short game like Jordan, putt it like Sam, I think. That would be a good player. (Why don't you pick yourself for any of those?) They're just better at me than those. You said ideal.”

Sam Burns

Driving: Cameron Young

Iron play: Collin Morikawa

Short game: Justin Thomas (or Jordan Spieth)

Putting: Don’t know, but would take himself

Explanation: “There's a lot of good drivers on this team. Cam Young hits it pretty far, pretty straight. Iron play, probably Collin. I would say short game, probably J.T. or Jordan. Putting – I don't know who I'd pick for putting. I'd have to think about that a little bit. (There's been a couple guys say you.) I'll take it.”

Justin Thomas

Driving: Cameron Young

Iron play: Justin Thomas

Short game: Jordan Spieth

Putting: Kevin Kisner

Explanation: “I mean, Cam Young off the tee is really impressive. I mean, I'd take my iron game. I would take Jordan's short game. Putting – Kiz, probably.”

Spieth has grown into U.S.' Presidents Cup leader

International

Tom Kim

Driving: Adam Scott

Iron play: Tom Kim

Short game: Hideki Matsuyama

Putting: Tom Kim

Explanation: “Driver, I would say, played with Adam today and Adam's driving is really good, so I'd pick Adam. Iron play, confident in myself, so I'll pick me. Short game, I think Hideki's got really good touch, so I'll choose Hideki for that. Putting, I guess I'd have to pick myself because I won that putt on Sunday.”

Adam Scott

Driving: Cam Davis

Iron play: Hideki Matsuyama

Short game: Sungjae Im

Putting: Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Explanation: “All right, I'll pick Cam Davis to drive the ball, and Hideki's iron play. That's a tough one because Sungjae is pretty strong there, as well. You could have a coin flip on those two. Christiaan Bezuidenhout probably is the best putter out there, and short game, I'm going to have to think through the list. It's not that easy. I've got to put -- you've stumped me on this one. I want to put Sungjae in there. How have I not put this guy on the team yet? I think almost any of us could get in there. I think generally the level on the PGA Tour is so high anyway. You know, Sungjae could be almost the ideal match player on his own, to be perfectly honest.”

Cam Davis

Driving: Adam Scott

Iron play: Hideki Matsuyama

Short game: Tom Kim

Putting: Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Explanation: “I think Hideki would be great for the irons. I think Adam Scott is one of the best drivers there is. He's a great guy to add to the bag. Christiaan's been putting amazingly this week -- well, this year, and I'm sure this week as well. Actually, Tom Kim has got a short game on him. I've seen that today. He's chipping them in, and everything is close from everywhere. So that would be a pretty good grouping there that I feel like quite a lot of guys have putts that are going in right now, just like that. So you might see a few guys in their ultimate match play form coming out this week.”