The 2022 Presidents Cup - HighlightsPublished on 03/14/2023 · 10 min readTeam USA was expected to dominate at this year's Presidents Cup, but the International Team was able to put up a good fight. Check out the highlights with Golf Expert Luke H.
Photo by Peter Drew
The Comeback That Just Wasn’t Enough
If we look back at my predictions for the 2022 Presidents Cup, I was predicting a blowout victory for the U.S. team of 21-9. Early on, through the first two days, it was headed in that direction, but the International squad came storming back on the weekend to make it interesting!
Thursday’s foursomes match (sometimes referred to as alternate shot) was dominated by the U.S. side, with the U.S. taking four out of a possible five points. Friday saw the same type of blowout with teams of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schaufelle, and Billy Horschel and Max Homa all winning their four-ball matches. Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns and the team of Kevin Kisner and Cameron Young both tied their matches for a half point. The score at the end of the day Friday was U.S. 8 and the International Squad 2.
Saturday’s competition was 36 holes—18 holes of foursomes and 18 holes of four-ball. The International squad, led by Rookie Tom Kim, stormed back and won five out of eight matches on Saturday. That brought them back into the competition for Sunday's singles and prevented the blowout that I had predicted!
Ultimately the four-point lead proved to be too much, and the U.S. won six out of Sunday’s 12 single matches, including a fiery match between Rookies Tom Kim and Max Homa. Homa was down 3 to Kim at one point in the match and rallied to win a point that helped secure the victory for Team U.S.A.
Player’s Grades: Team U.S.
In this section, we will look at each player’s records. Were my predictions around Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay going undefeated correct? I also made a prediction about the International Team’s star, rookie Tom Kim, that almost came true…check out the Team International breakdown below.
Sam Burns (0-3-2): B-
Burns played better than his record indicated, unfortunately, his record reflects poor play by his partners Scottie Scheffler and Billy Horschel. Sunday, he ran into a buzz saw with Hideki Matsuyama. But he gained valuable experience and will for sure be a Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup fixture in the years to come.
Patrick Cantlay (3-1-0): A
An absolute buzzsaw all week! Patty Ice and Xander Schaueffele were lights out in team competition including a thorough butt-whopping of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama on Thursday (won 6 and 5). He continued torturing Adam Scott all week and on Sunday’s singles, he went 3 up through the first four holes on the Australian and never looked back.
Tony Finau (3-1-0): B+
Finau teamed up with rookie Max Homa most of the week, and the pair formed a bond. They won both foursome matches. After less than stellar performances in the 2019 Presidents Cup (0-1-3) and the 2021 Ryder Cup (1-2-0), Finau has apparently carried over his winning ways from the 2022 summer and looks to be a serious match-play competitor going forward.
Max Homa (4-0-0): A++
Will the next Mr. America please stand up. Match-play Max has arrived. Suddenly the fiery heart of the American Squad, Max Homa, delivered in a huge way all week. He made clutch putt after clutch putt—including downing Tom Kim on Sunday after being 3 down in the match at one point. Homa vaulted himself to a top 12 player in the World Golf Rankings this year, and after his display of guts and passion this week, he should be a fixture in these international team competitions for years to come. That is nothing but great news for Team U.S.A.!
Billy Horschel (1-2-0): C
Not his best for a first showing, but he did help carry Homa on Saturday. He has been streaky since his win at the Memorial in May, not posting a Top 20. Horschel was the inevitable replacement for the injured Will Zalatoris but… we probably won’t see him again at this competition in the future.
Kevin Kisner (0-2-1): D-
The only reason Kiz didn’t get an F is because he brought the party to Team U.S.A. He even rightly diagnosed his contribution to the team as the official party captain! He was steamrolled Sunday and never really stood a chance against Christiaan Bezuidenhout. I would suspect that Kisner is done in team play—look for up-and-coming rookie sensation Sahith Theegala to take over this Captain’s Pick spot in the Ryder Cup next year.
Collin Morikawa (2-1-0): B
The fact that the world No. 9 player and the two-time major winner only played three of five matches speaks to the depth of talent in Team U.S.A. His lack of playing didn’t seem to phase him as he dominated Mito Pereira on Sunday, 3 & 2. He was a great teammate and will for sure be a consistent contributor for years to come.
Xander Schaueffele (3-1-0): A
Pretty solid stuff overall. Not much to say, but we are starting to see Xander emerge as the go-to match-play leade—especially when paired with best friend Patrick Cantlay. Expect him to be at the core of every major team competition for the next decade or longer.
Scottie Scheffler (0-3-1): F
Wow, I was way off on this prediction! I was expecting him to go undefeated as he has been on a tear this year. During the first three sessions, the International team scored 4 total points, and 2.5 of those came from victories over the World No. 1. I feel like he is a pretty resolute player however and won't let this off week get him down.
Jordan Spieth (5-0-0): A++
The Spieth bounce-back train continues. He was perfect this week and went 4-0 with best buddy JT. He was rolling putts in from everywhere—at one point, one of the announcers said that Speith was seeing the hole on the putting green as if it were a sewer lid. He birdied 11, 12, and 13 on his Sunday singles match against Cam Davis to win his first singles match in international play. If he holds this putting stroke through the off-season, can you say Master’s favorite?
Justin Thomas (4-1-0): A
JT lost to Si Woo Kim on the 18th hole of his Sunday singles match. Otherwise, he would have joined Homa and Speith with perfect records! While Homa might be emerging as Captain America, JT is certainly the soul of the team. He has played in three international events so far, and he has racked up 17.5 points already and is currently on a trajectory to be the best U.S. match-play player ever.
Player’s Grades: Team International
Cam Young (1-2-1): C-
Cam Young looked promising right out of the gate by winning his first match with Collin Morikawa and earning a tie-on Friday with Kevin Kisner. But then things cratered on the weekend, and he lost every match he was part of. However, Cam has too much raw talent to let this stop him. Even as a rookie this year, he is one of the best players in the sport. Next year's Ryder Cup should see a very different performance for Cam after this week’s experience.
Christian Bezuidenhout (1-0-1): B
Pretty great start for the rookie! He didn’t get a lot of playing time, surprisingly, since he is one of the best putters in the world. But he proved to be a tough competitor, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name called as a Captain’s Pick again in the future.
Cam Davis (2-3-0): C+
A last-minute shoe-in because of those that defected to the LIV Tour, Cam Davis still had a pretty decent debut for the International Squad. Two out of his three losses were to the U.S. buzzsaw named Jordan Spieth—and they were competitive losses, not blowouts. Cam Davis should get another shot at the Cup in 2024.
Sungjae Im (2-2-1): B
Im is the International team's equivalent of JT. He had a great debut in 2019 and followed up with a great showing in Charlotte this week. If he would have been paired with anyone other than Corey Conners, he probably would have gone undefeated this week. The leader on tour in birdies made is a dangerous man in this format. Expect him to be a part of this squad for the next decade-plus.
Corey Conners (0-0-4): F
Speaking of Conners, he was a mess this week, surprisingly. One of the best ball strikers in the world, Conners has been struggling on the greens for much of 2022, and it was a glaring weakness in Charlotte. Quail Hollow’s 13.5 stimped greens were too much for him to manage, and ultimately his zero-footer was what sealed the fate of the International Squad.
Si Woo Kim (3-1-0): A+
Even with one loss, Si Woo ignited the International Squad. He beat JT in Sunday singles and played steady and passionately with rookie Tom Kim. My prediction pre-tournament was Tom Kim would be the top points getter, but it turned out to be Si Woo!
Tom Kim (2-3-0): A+
Even though his record doesn’t reflect an amazing performance (he ran up against some great American squads this week), Kim ignited the passion for the International side. If Max Homa is Captain America, Tom Kim is Red Skull in the Presidents Cup. A pesky nemesis that has a knack for whipping the crowds (even visiting crowds) into a frenzy and making unbelievable clutch pressure putts. At 20 years old, he is sure to be a staple on the International Squad for the next few decades!
K.H. Lee (2-1-0): B+
Lee was up there with Cam Davis as being viewed as one of the weakest International players going into the week. However, he ended up being a pretty solid addition to the squad. His only real weakness this week was his approach play with his irons. If he improves that aspect of his game, he could be a great addition to the squad. Not to mention, he would probably be a serious contender on Tour week in and week out.
Hideki Matsuyama (1-3-1): F
Captain Immelman and the rest of the International team were looking to their highest-ranked player for leadership, grit, and determination. But Matsuyama couldn’t muster the magic from the Master’s tournament and lost three out of four team matches the first three days. Especially disappointing is that he nearly won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow multiple times—including a second-place finish in 2017.
Sebastian Munoz (2-0-1): A
Munoz didn’t get a whole lot of playing time this week. He could have been really productive for Team Immelman as, perhaps the most impressive feat for the week, he took down World No. 1, Scottie Scheffler, on Sunday’s singles matches. He has a great attitude, is grateful for being a part of the team, and seems to be a great teammate. Munoz was another last-minute addition that will probably be a great pick for 2024!
Taylor Pendrith (0-0-4): F
Definitely an out-of-the-box pick for Trevor Immelman. Too bad the box was also in left field—nowhere close to home plate where points are scored.
Mito Pereira (0-1-2): F
Another disappointing rookie. Not a whole lot to look forward to from Mito in matchplay, unfortunately. Rumor was he stuck with the PGA Tour instead of jumping to LIV so he could play in the President’s Cup. Maybe he should have taken the LIV paycheck instead…Don’t be surprised if that announcement comes next week.
Adam Scott (2-3-0): B
This was likely Scott’s final (and twelfth) President Cup appearance, and he will finish without winning a single one. Trevor Immelman put him out with some questionable pairings that hurt his record this week. Scott actually played pretty well and made some clutch putts, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. His next appearance at the President’s Cup will most likely be as Captain!
That’s a Wrap!
The conclusion of the President’s Cup puts a cap on the 2021-22 PGA Tour season. We’ve had a ton of memorable events, a great FedEx Cup, and some memorable Major winners. If you have any questions about any of the gear that any of the 24 players in the President’s Cup used this week, feel free to reach out to me or any of the other great Golf Experts here on Curated! Also, don’t forget, it's only seven months until The Masters! See you next year!