The 14th running of the Presidents Cup is set to take place this week at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It will be the first time this event has traveled to the Southeast but it’s far from the first time we’ve seen the course in action. Quail Hollow has been hosting the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003 with the exception of 2017 and 2022.
Let’s take a quick dive into the course layout and then move on to talk about each side of the competition which pits Team United States against the International Team.
Looking at the scorecard this week, we see a par 71 that can stretch out to 7,571 yards from the tips. That is a beefy layout. Of course, there are various tee boxes that will be mixed and matched so we shouldn’t expect to see it tip out each day.
At a hole-by-hole level, there are six par 4s that play over 460 yards.
Distance is a serious advantage this week and that is backed up by the list of recent winners at the course. Since 2014 we’ve seen winners include J.B. Holmes, Rory McIlroy (x2), Justin Thomas, James Hahn, Jason Day, and Max Homa. Not a short hitter among the bunch.
Adding to the appeal for power this week, the course has not been overseeded for the fall so it’s sporting bermuda rough that may be close to falling asleep for the season. It will be wall-to-wall bermudagrass this week. Notes from the grounds crew read, “The course should accommodate long-ball hitters and will not be as penal when balls are hit offline.”
The other main storyline about the course is the re-routing for this week’s event. Routing will be 1-8, 12-18, 10-11, then 9 for this week’s competition. That will allow the infamous Green Mile to be utilized in more matches. That Green Mile stretch is holes No. 16 thru 18 and it’s one of the toughest stretches of holes seen across the entire TOUR rota. With the home team being able to set up the course, it would make sense for them to get any many reps as possible on the toughest holes if they think they have an overall skill advantage.
Historically, Hole No. 15 has been played in 89.3% of the Presidents Cup matches so we should expect to see the entire Green Mile stretch played in a majority, but not all, of the 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 playing their own ball, going with the lowest score from each team on each hole.
All matches are worth one point, with no playoff holes (half a point to each team for a tie).
Each player is required to play just one match before Sunday singles. This was a change that went into play for the 2019 edition (it was previously required to play two matches before Sunday singles).
United States Team
The Americans are captained by Davis Love III. They are sitting as a heavy favorite, 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 at this event, winning eight in a row leading up to the 2022 edition. They are 7-0-0 on home soil.
The average OWGR rank of the American side is 11.6, the lowest of any team ever assembled in Presidents Cup history. The average OWGR of the 2019 US team was 12.2 which was also the lowest at the time. Their advantage in average OWGR rank is 37.3 spots which is the largest gap we’ve ever seen at the competition (+28.6 spots in 2019). That doesn’t guarantee anything, of course. In fact, the second-largest gap came at the 1998 edition (+20.8 spots in favor of Team USA) but the International team went on to win that week.
Veterans: Jordan Spieth is the only American to be playing in his fourth Presidents Cup. He arrives with an 8-5-1 record at the event. Justin Thomas is next in line on the experience train as he readies for his third Presidents Cup (6-2-2). We’ve seen these two good buddies paired up in team play before but with them holding most of the experience, will they spread them out this week? There pros and cons to either side of that decision so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Running the ship for the global team is Trevor Immelman. The 42-year-old is set to 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, K.H. 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 are bringing eight rookies to the table which is the most ever assembled on one team in Presidents Cup history. The two teams combine to have 14 rookies this week which is the most we’ve seen at the event (12 was the previous record that took place in 2019).
For age in general, the average age of the International Team is just 28.8 years. That is the lowest average age of any team in competition history. The International side has trended down in average age in each of the last six editions.
Pendrith with something to prove? Taylor Pendrith got a captain’s pick this week but he arrives at just 109th in the OWGR. That is the lowest in the field this week and the second-lowest ranked golfer ever to play in a Presidents Cup. Will he use that as motivation to prove he belongs? He was picked due to his power and ability to keep pace off-the-tee.
Experience: While the majority of the team is making their debut this week, there are two staples in the locker room, Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama. They are the only Internationals that have played in more than one previous Presidents Cup. Matsuyama is making his fifth appearance (6-7-4) while Scott is teeing it up in his 10th Presidents Cup (16-22-6).
The United States squad was already heavy favorites for the 2022 Presidents Cup before the International side lost a few key players recently to LIV Golf (Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann, most notably). The Americans are 7-0-0 on home soil and their team is filled with more players that fit the big-hitter narrative that is supposed to play well at Quail Hollow Club. They will be tough to beat.
That being said, the International said can embrace the underdog role and give them a fight this week in Charlotte. They have nothing to lose since most of the world already thinks they have lost.
One thing I found interesting was the Internationals have actually won more Four-ball matches historically (68 to 65) so that may be one angle to attack if you are playing round-by-round fantasy contests or betting on the event.