Presidents Cup 2017 Schedule: Tee Times, Pairings and Predictions for Sunday

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2017

Justin Thomas and the U.S. have a huge lead in the Presidents Cup.
Justin Thomas and the U.S. have a huge lead in the Presidents Cup.Associated Press

It's all over but the shouting for the U.S. team in the Presidents Cup. After dominating the first two days of competition against the International team at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, New Jersey, the United States kept on piling up the points in both the morning and afternoon sessions to get within one point of winning the cup.

If the International team of Anirban Lahiri and Si Woo Kim had not defeated the U.S. team of Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman in the last match of the day, the U.S. team would have clinched the title on Saturday.

Going into the final day of competition, the Americans have a 14.5 to 3.5 lead. If the United States gains one point in the 12 singles matches Sunday, it will win the competition. The International would need to win all 12 points to take the title away from the United States.

The United States came out storming in the morning foursome competition, earning 3.5 of the 4.0 points available. The International team of Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen halved their match with Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, and that was the only half point gained by the Internationals in the morning. Grace and Oosthuizen won the 11th hole to tie the match, and neither side could gain an advantage on any of the seven remaining holes.

The duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed set the tone for the U.S. team once again. They started the morning session with a 4 and 3 victory over Jason Day and Marc Leishman. The victory improved the Spieth-Reed team's record to 2-0-1 in the Presidents Cup and 7-1-3 in team events, which includes the Ryder Cup.

The pair was interviewed by NBC's Jimmy Roberts (h/t PGATour.com) after the victory, and Reed said that he can play aggressively in team matches because Spieth's short game is so strong. Spieth returned the compliment, saying that he knows if he can get his wedge shots to within 10 feet, Reed almost always makes the putt.

Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner earned a 2 and 1 victory over Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas, and after that victory, Kisner said he was thrilled to be partnered with Mickelson.

"I couldn't have asked for a cooler partner, man," Kisner said, per Jason Sobel of ESPN.com. "He was so much fun to be with. He never gets down and he's so positive out there. That's so much fun to be around. ... I'll always look back and think about who I played with. Nobody can ever take that from me.

     

Kevin Chappell will have the first opportunity to clinch the Presidents Cup for the United States Sunday.
Kevin Chappell will have the first opportunity to clinch the Presidents Cup for the United States Sunday.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Sunday predictions

It is not a question of if, it's a question of when.

If the United States can win one match or halve two, it will win the Presidents Cup once again. Since the U.S. team earned the victory in the last Presidents Cup two years ago, halving one match will allow them to hold on to the title.

It seems almost certain the United States will set a record for margin of victory. U.S. captain Steve Stricker has said his goal throughout the competition has been to win each session, and if the Americans do that in the singles competition, the American team will have the record.

Chappell will take on Leishman in the first match of the day at 12:04 p.m., while Hoffman will face Day at 12:15 p.m. in the second match. Thomas, perhaps the top player on the U.S. team, will take on Hideki Matsuyama in the third match at 12:26 p.m. (all times ET).

Here's a look at the start time and participants in the other nine matches, according to PresidentsCup.com.

It would be a shock if the U.S. doesn't have the Presidents Cup clinched by the time the first three golfers finish their rounds. Even if Chappell can't get by Leishman, Hoffman should get the best of Day, who is not playing at his peak. Thomas should be able to handle Matsuyama, who has not been playing well in the Presidents Cup, either.

All the matches will be played, even if the Cup is clinched early.

Look for Kim to beat Daniel Berger, but Matt Kuchar should handle Charl Schwartzel. Reed and Oosthuizen could have the most competitive match of the day, and look for the former to win by one or two holes.

Dustin Johnson should have a fairly big advantage over Grace, Brooks Koepka will get the best of Adam Scott, but Spieth will fall short of Vegas.

Kisner has too many weapons to lose to Lahiri, but Canadian Adam Hadwin will get the best of Mickelson. Fowler will entertain the crowd and get the best of Grillo in the final match of the international competition.