The 14th edition of the Presidents Cup will take place this week at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It’s the first time this event has traveled to the Southeast, but it’s far from the first time we’ve seen the track in action. Quail Hollow has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003 with the exception of 2017 and 2022.
Let’s take a quick dive into the track layout and then continue talking about each side of the league where Team United States takes on the international team.
Looking at the scorecard this week, we see a par 71 that can extend as far as 7,571 yards from the tips. That’s a meaty layout. Of course there are several tee boxes that get mixed and matched, so we shouldn’t expect it to topple every day.
At a hole-by-hole level, there are six par 4s playing over 460 yards.
Distance is a serious advantage this week and that is attested by the list of recent winners on the trail. Since 2014, we’ve seen winners including JB Holmes, Rory McIlroy (x2), Justin Thomas, James Hahn, Jason Day and Max Homa. No short hitter among the pack.
In addition to the pull in effect this week, the track isn’t overseeded for the fall, so it’s sporty Bermuda shorts that might just be falling asleep for the season. It will be wall-to-wall Bermuda grass this week. Field staff notes read: “The course must be suitable for long-ball hitters and will not be as punishable as hitting balls offline.”
The other main storyline on the course is the diversion for this week’s event. The route is 1-8, 12-18, 10-11 and then 9 for this week’s competition. This allows the infamous Green Mile to be used in more matches. That Green Mile course is holes 16 through 18 and it is one of the most difficult stretches of holes you will see all over the TOUR rota. Since the home team can 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 has been played in 89.3% of Presidents Cup matches, so we can expect the entire Green Mile stretch to be played in a majority, but not all, matches.
Thursday: Five Foursomes matches
Friday: Five Four-ball matches
Saturday morning: Four Foursomes matches
Saturday afternoon: Four Four-ball matches
Sunday: 12 singles matches
Foursomes = Alternate Shot between partners.
Four-ball = Everyone plays their own ball, with the lowest score of each team on each hole.
All matches are worth one point, excluding play-off holes (half a point for each team for a draw).
Each player only needs to play one game for the Sunday singles. This was a change that came into play for the 2019 edition (previously it was necessary to play two matches for the Sunday singles).
United States Team
The Americans are led by Davis Love III. They sit as a firm favourite, 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
Presidents Cup Rookies (6): Burns, Homa, Horschel, Morikawa, Scheffler, Young
Team USA is 11-1-1 on this event, winning eight in a row leading up to the 2022 edition. They are 7-0-0 on home soil.
The US side’s average OWGR ranking is 11.6, the lowest of any team ever assembled in Presidents Cup history. The 2019 US team’s average OWGR 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 biggest gap we’ve ever seen in the league (+28.6 spots in 2019). That, of course, guarantees nothing. In fact, the second biggest gap came in the 1998 edition (+20.8 places in favor of Team USA), but the international team won that week.
Veterans: Jordan Spieth is the only American to play in his fourth Presidents Cup. He arrives at the event with an 8-5-1 record. Justin Thomas is next in line on the experience train as he gears up for his third Presidents Cup (6-2-2). We’ve seen these two good buddies in team play before, but with those who have the most experience, will they spread them out this week? There are pros and cons on both sides of that decision, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Trevor Immelman leads the ship for the global team. The 42-year-old will 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
Presidents Cup Rookies (8): Bezuidenhout, Conners, Davis, Tom Kim, Lee, Munoz, Pendrith, Pereira
The main storyline for the international side is youth and inexperience. They bring eight rookies to the table, the most ever collected by one team in Presidents Cup history. The two teams have 14 rookies together this week, the most we’ve seen at the event (12 was the previous record set in 2019).
For age in general, the average age of the international team is only 28.8 years. That’s the lowest average age of a team in league history. The international side has fallen in average age in each of the last six editions.
Does Pendrith have anything to prove? Taylor Pendrith got a captain’s pick this week, but he comes in at just 109th in the OWGR. That’s the lowest in the field this week and the second lowest-ranked golfer to ever play in a Presidents Cup. Will he use that as motivation to prove he belongs? He was chosen for his strength and ability to keep pace from the tee.
Experience: While the majority of the team are debuting 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 previous Presidents Cup. Matsuyama makes his fifth appearance (6-7-4) as Scott takes first place in his 10th Presidents Cup (16-22-6).
The United States team was already a firm favorite for the 2022 Presidents Cup before the international side recently lost a few key players to LIV Golf (notably Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann). The Americans are 7-0-0 on home soil and their team is filled with more players that fit the story of the great batter who is supposed to play well at Quail Hollow Club. They will be hard to beat.
That said, the International said it can embrace the role of the underdog and give them a fight this week in Charlotte. They have nothing to lose because most of the world already thinks they have lost.
One thing I found interesting was that the Internationals have won more Four-ball matches in the past (68 to 65), so that could be an angle to attack if you’re playing round-by-round fantasy matches or on the event gambling.