Day Two of the 2011 Presidents Cup is four-ball day. And with the Americans leading by two points after the opening day alternate-shot matches, changes are to be expected.
The four-ball format is certainly one of the most common and popular formats in the game, where two players play the other two players in the foursome in a better-ball format. The strategy is different and the approach changes.
So while the opening day served to see how the teams perform together and gives them a feel for the competition, it also gave the team Captains a better grasp of how to make the adjustments for Day Two.
Fred Couples (USA Team Captain) and Greg Norman (International Team Captain) did just that. They made their adjustments accordingly.
The matches for Friday's four-ball will be as follows:
Couples kept together four of his pairings and split Stricker and Woods, looking to spark both of them, and possibly take a commanding lead heading into the weekend.
Meanwhile, Norman had to make changes after seeing how his team who started-off looking like they would be up two points at the end of Day One, finished down two points.
The first match will be a rematch between Simpson and Watson against Els and Ishikawa.
This match could be very different than the one yesterday, as Els played very well and it was Ishikawa's play that drag the team. Couples is looking to start the day winning and open the lead.
With Ishikawa's jet-lag normalizing after a couple of days now in Melbourne, this could be a closer match, and Norman certainly knows they have room to improve.
The second match will be key for the International Team. This is the match they will be looking to spark the crowd and the rest of team following them today.
They cannot afford to fall farther behind the USA Team, and Norman has given Day and Baddeley a vote of confidence, pairing the Cup rookies again. Nerves could have play a role in them losing their lead yesterday, but they certainly played very well.
On the other side, Johnson didn't play great, but he stepped-up when most needed to earn the halve. Woods never got his game going, and maybe playing an earlier match would take some pressure off him. This pairing will need Woods to show his A-game in order to win.
Stricker meanwhile, will be paired with Kuchar, and that pairing will play against Allenby and Yang. Stricker needs to improve from yesterday, but in Kuchar he gets a solid player that plays smart and keeps the ball in play. This could get Stricker going, and help the Americans win another point.
One surprising split by Norman is the one of Choi and Scott. Norman might be looking to maximize the chances of the other pairings by splitting them, and could work. The International team certainly showed some glaring weaknesses on Day One, and this could be the best way to cover them.
Scott might have been the one playing the best golf yesterday. He will be paired with Kim to face Furyk and Mickelson. The Americans played solid yesterday, especially Mickelson, who was back to his old putter and it worked wonders for his putting.
Choi will be paired with Ogilvy, to face the comeback kids Haas and Watney. This could be another match decided on the 18th hole. It looks like the one that will be most contested today.
The closing match will feature Mahan and Toms against South Africans Goosen and Schwartzel. Mahan and Toms played excellent yesterday and will be looking to close the day with a win for the USA Team.
Schwartzel was split from his pairing with Ogilvy in order to spark his fellow countryman Goosen and get the win on his match. Goosen, along with Allenby, looked like the weakest players on the International Team yesterday and they have been paired with strong partners today.
By the looks of the pairings, it seems like the USA Team has a very good chance to double their lead today. At the very least, I see them splitting the six matches today.
It's important to remember that the tee-time for the first match was moved up two hours, due to the inclement weather expected in the Melbourne area on Friday. The Golf Channel will start their live coverage at 5:30 p.m. EST.
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