Presidents Cup: Strong US squad in search of seventh straight win
The 12th edition of the Presidents Cup is this week and Team USA will be looking for a seventh straight win at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City.
Boasting a 9-1-1 record in the competition, the home side's only non-winning encounters with the International team came in 2003, when they tied, and in 1998's losing effort.
This year's competition comes on the heels of a thrilling FedEx Cup playoff chase, ultimately won by Justin Thomas. The US team, led by Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, look as strong as ever, but could fatigue play a part?
Their opponents, headlined by the likes of Hideki Matsuyama, Jason Day and Adam Scott, will certainly hope so.
After Thursday's opening ceremonies, the Presidents Cup will start with five foursome (alternate-shot) matches, the pairings for which will be announced on Wednesday.
Friday's action will consist of five four-ball matches. In these contests, each player will play his own ball, taking the best score on each hole between team-mates.
Come Saturday, the competition will feature four foursome matches in the morning, then four four-ball clashes in the afternoon.
Finally, on Sunday, the Presidents Cup will conclude with 12 singles matches.
Team USA (Captain: Steve Stricker)
Dustin Johnson — The world number one heads into his third Presidents Cup with a 4-4-1 record. His 3-0-1 foursomes record makes him a must-play for Thursday and Saturday, and his length off the tee makes him a versatile matchup option for captain Steve Stricker.
Jordan Spieth — Despite coming up short in his FedEx Cup pursuit, Spieth enters the week poised for greatness in his third Presidents Cup. Spieth brings a 5-4-0 record to the team with a scintillating 3-0-0 foursomes record. His 0-2 singles record leaves a bit to be desired, though.
Justin Thomas — Making his debut at the event, Thomas enjoyed a season for the ages, compiling five wins – one of them his first major – while ultimately hoisting the season-long FedEx Cup. He was disappointed not to make last year's Ryder Cup squad. He likely won't be missing many more team competitions.
Daniel Berger — Ranked 25th in the world, Berger will make his maiden Presidents Cup outing after earning his second PGA Tour win this season.
Rickie Fowler — Fowler heads to New Jersey this week trying to improve upon his 1-3-0 record two years ago in his Presidents Cup debut. Now a seasoned veteran on Tour and in team competitions, Fowler will be among the leaders on this squad and a versatile pairing option.
Brooks Koepka — The reigning U.S. Open winner helped the US beat Europe in last year's Ryder Cup. Making his first appearance in the Presidents Cup, Koepka should adjust to the competition seamlessly. A possible Johnson-Koepka four-ball matchup seems enticing.
Kevin Kisner — Another player making his Presidents Cup debut, Kisner has become a consistent threat on the PGA Tour, exemplified by his near-win last week in Atlanta.
Matt Kuchar — Fresh off another steady season that lifted Kuchar to 12th in the world rankings, he now embarks on his fourth Presidents Cup competition. He will be looking to improve upon his 4-7-2 record and disappointing 0-3 mark in singles matches.
Patrick Reed — Team USA's go-to man in big matches during the Ryder Cup, Reed was always willing to go up against Europe's top players. His partnership with Spieth gave the US an early lift each day, and the two could pair again against the Internationals. Reed is playing in his second Presidents Cup this week.
Kevin Chappell — An underrated talent, Chappell is also making his Presidents Cup debut after earning his first PGA Tour win earlier this year. A strong week could make him a household name.
Phil Mickelson — Mickelson has played in every Presidents Cup, and Stricker wasn't about to break his streak, making him a captain's pick this year. Mickelson enters the competition with a 23-16-12 record. He is a favourite among the young generation and he should be a great locker-room presence.
Charley Hoffman — Stricker's other captain's pick is making his Presidents Cup debut. Hoffman has become a consistent contender on Tour, but he fizzled out a bit during the playoffs.
Internationals (Captain: Nick Price)
Hideki Matsuyama — Matsuyama said during his disappointing FedEx Cup playoff run that fatigue had set in a bit. Captain Nick Price needs his star in form this week to pull off the upset. Matsuyama is playing in his third Presidents Cup (3-4-2).
Jason Day — A shocking split from longtime caddie and father figure Colin Swatton seemed to rejuvenate Day late in the season. Making his fourth Presidents Cup appearance (4-8-3), Day will need to be a leader this week.
Adam Scott — Despite suffering a down year, Scott, playing in his eighth Presidents Cup (13-17-5), should be fresh and ready to remind everyone why he once held the world number one ranking.
Louis Oosthuizen — Oosthuizen is about as mercurial as they come on the PGA Tour, but he sent a shockwave down Team USA's spine two years ago with fellow South African Branden Grace as his partner. The two went 4-0 paired together in 2015 and Price would be smart to send them back out again this year.
Charl Schwartzel — Another talented South African, Schwartzel will make his fourth Presidents Cup appearance this week. His solid short game and putting could make him an ideal fit to partner with whoever doesn't team up with Day between Marc Leishman and Scott.
Marc Leishman — A two-time winner on Tour this year, Leishman enters his third Presidents Cup (3-5-1) as the 16th-ranked player in the world.
Branden Grace — Grace went 5-0 in 2015, teaming with Oosthuizen for a potent combination. He also went 0-4 in his first Presidents Cup appearance, so it is hard to say what Grace will do in his third time in the competition.
Jhonattan Vegas — One of the few rookies on the International squad. Vegas successfully defended his title at the Canadian Open this year and he also finished in a tie for third at The Northern Trust last month.
Kim Si-woo — The surprise Players Championship winner will make his Presidents Cup debut after failing to record another top-10 finish following his breakthrough win.
Adam Hadwin — The PGA Tour was Hadwin's personal playground early this season with a runner-up finish at the CareerBuilder Challenge and a win at the Valspar Championship. But the Canadian, making his Presidents Cup debut, has just one top 10 in his last 17 starts.
Anirban Lahiri — Many scratched their heads when Price used a captain's pick on Lahiri, who lost all three of his matches in his first Presidents Cup appearance. The Indian will need to use that doubt as a motivation.
Emiliano Grillo — Another interesting pick, Grillo was named rookie of the year after the 2015-16 season, but fell flat in 2016-17 with just two top 10s all season.