Presidents Cup 2013 Golf: Previewing Most Compelling Matchups of Day 2
After one day of action at Muirfield Village, the 2013 Presidents Cup is still wide open, but a strong push from either team on Day 2 could tip the scales significantly.
Friday's action features six matches. Four-ball was the game on Thursday, and the players are switching gears on Friday with foursomes. This is an alternate-shot match-play event that tests the nerves of all involved.
Heading into Day 2, the United States Team led the International team by one point, 3.5-2.5, having won three matches on Thursday while tying another.
Needless to say, given the tight nature of competition thus far, the weekend is shaping up nicely for a pressure-packed Sunday afternoon in Ohio.
Every match is meaningful. Every stroke counts. This tournament offers golf fans some of the best drama of the season.
With that in mind, here's a closer look at the most compelling matchups on Friday.
Phil Mickelson & Keegan Bradley vs. Jason Day & Graham DeLaet
Mickelson and Bradley were stunned on Thursday by Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, losing 2-and-1 after jumping out to a two-hole lead in the first seven holes of the day.
The duo couldn't get hot down the stretch, which cost them a match.
Day and DeLaet, on the other hand, got hot down the stretch against Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker, who got off to a blazing start on Thursday, opening up a three-hole lead through six.
Mickelson and Bradley are both aggressive players who are capable of making jaw-dropping shots, but they also have a penchant for making big mistakes.
Day and DeLaet will steadily go about their business, but they could be overrun if Mickelson and Bradley start to feed off each other early.
Tiger Woods & Matt Kuchar vs. Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel
This matchup pits the two hottest teams from Thursday's matches.
Woods and Kuchar overpowered Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman on their way to a 5-and-4 win, making six birdies through 13 holes. Both players came out loose yet focused. This was clearly illustrated when they performed a Fresh Prince of Bel Air handshake, as shown by Brad Galli of WXYZ-TV:
Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar celebrated with Fresh Prince handshake. Kuchar said Tiger was the "perfect Carlton." HA pic.twitter.com/JRy9YeIHVu— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 4, 2013
Matching their impressive win on Friday won't be easy, however.
As mentioned in the previously highlighted match, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel were just as imposing on Thursday. After falling into an early hole, the International duo bounced back with four birdies in their final 10 holes to claim the win.
If Woods and Kuchar play like they did on Thursday, however, it might not matter how well Oosthuizen and Schwartzel perform.
Steve Stricker & Jordan Spieth vs. Branden Grace & Richard Sterne
Coming into the 2013 season, Spieth had absolutely zero status on the PGA Tour.
The 20-year-old rookie played his way into the FedEx Cup with a big win at the John Deere Classic and nine top-10 finishes, though, and he's been phenomenal all season long.
How will Spieth react to the pressure on Friday?
However, it was no accident that Spieth was paired with Stricker. The pressure involved in these matches can be overwhelming, and the veteran Stricker will be a calming influence on the young man.
Their opponents on Friday were demolished by Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, who put their foot on the gas pedal and never let up. Grace and Sterne are capable of playing much better, however, and they'll have a chance to take advantage of Spieth's inexperience on Friday.
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