Anyone else ready for the most-hyped Presidents Cup matches to start? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So am I. We’re almost there — if we can just get through this next hour. Let’s take a quick look at things to watch for, along with predictions…
*Will you make it to 2am if the last match goes to 18 holes? (Good thing I’m a night owl. That’s my bedtime, anyway!)
*Will Stevie and Tiger throw down at any point? Will we see gamesmanship? (Probably.)
*Which team will win? I say Internationals since the U.S. team got their butts whupped in ’98 when it was last played at Royal Melbourne, but it’s a tough call with matchplay and it might be close if the pseudo-injured Americans stay healthy. Conor says: “I think the U.S. team is stronger than people seem to think AND for all the big names on the International team there are very few WINNERS, you know what I mean…”
Indeed I do. Ernie Els hasn’t been playing his best golf. Neither has Retief Goosen. Or Robert Allenby (*but remember he has superhero abilities at Royal Melbourne), among others.
*You know what happens when golfers turn 40: Their putting abilities tend to diminish. Will any of the 40+ guys — Ernie, Retief, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Allenby — be able to hole a putt?
*How will the rookies — Bill Haas, Nick Watney, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson (half a rookie since he played in the Ryder Cup), Charl Schwartzel, KT Kim, Jason Day — fare?
*Biggest surprise of the day?
*Can the Internationals figure out how to play foursomes?
*Will Tiger-Stricker duo remain indomitable?
*Is Ryo distracted with the media frenzy back home over rumors that his girlfriend is pregnant? Has he recovered from jetlag? Or the hangover from last night?
*And finally, the lineup (all times ET):
MATCH 1 – Ernie Els-Ryo Ishikawa, International vs. Bubba Watson-Webb Simpson, U.S. (9:05pm)
MATCH 2 – Bill Haas-Nick Watney, U.S. vs. Geoff Ogilvy-Charl Schwartzel, International (9:17pm)
MATCH 3 – Aaron Baddeley-Jason Day, International vs. Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar, U.S. (9:29pm)
MATCH 4 – Phil Mickelson-Jim Furyk, U.S. vs. Retief Goosen-Robert Allenby, International (9:41pm)
MATCH 5 – K.T. Kim-Y.E. Yang, International vs. Hunter Mahan-David Toms, U.S. (9:53pm)
MATCH 6 – Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker, U.S. vs. Adam Scott-K.J. Choi, International (10:05pm)
(AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)