X

Presidents Cup 2019: Predicting Scores and Standings for Day 1 Pairings

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 11: Captain Ernie Els of South Africa and the International team and Playing Captain Tiger Woods of the United States team take part in Thursday's Four-Ball Pairings ahead of the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course on December 11, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

The five first-round matches of the 2019 Presidents Cup are set, with play starting on Thursday at 9:32 a.m. local time in Melbourne, Australia (5:32 pm. ET Wednesday/10:32 p.m. GMT Wednesday).

Team captain Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas will kick things off for the Americans, while the first pairing out the gate for the International team will be Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann.

Here's a look at the five four-ball matches we'll see on Day 1 of the competition:

From The Back Tees @fromthebacktees

Presidents Cup Pairings https://t.co/JFpmBdZFyz

The American team are the clear favourites to defend their title, and a quick look at the Day 1 pairings reveals why.

Woods and Thomas are both ranked in the top seven of the World Golf rankings; Leishman sits 27th, while Niemann doesn't even crack the top 50.

Per Golf Central, Woods didn't hesitate about putting himself in the first pairing for a second:

Golf Central @GolfCentral

Did playing-captain Tiger Woods give any second thought to putting himself and Justin Thomas out first? “There was zero hesitation here,” Woods said. https://t.co/OaQqUNAYOA https://t.co/HHSBV0vVsF

By hitting the course first, Woods will maximise his time watching his players, which should help him with his picks moving forward. It is worth noting he only has a 7-9 record in four-balls in the Presidents Cup, however, so there are some risks.

Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau will team up to face Adam Scott and Byeong Hun An in what has the potential to be one of the best matches of the entire event. Scott is the International team's only player ranked inside the top 20, and his playing partner has been steadily improving, with his first finish inside the top 20 at a major coming at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Finau is a fan of the course:

Presidents Cup @PresidentsCup

We love our host, Royal Melbourne Golf Club. Tony Finau concurs. https://t.co/qo05q64cGU

U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland will pair with Dustin Johnson to take on Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer in the final match of the day.

Johnson did not have a great 2019 campaign, taking just a single win on the PGA Tour―the WGC-Mexico Championship―but he has been a part of three Presidents Cup teams already, amassing an 8-4-2 record. With the exception of Woods (24-15-1), no one on the American team has won more matches.

   

Predictions

Woods/Thomas W, Leishman/Niemann L

Schauffele/Cantlay W, Hadwin/Im L

Scott/An W, DeChambeau/Finau L

Matsuyama/Pan H, Simpson/Reed H

Johnson/Woodland H, Ancer/Oosthuizen H

Score: USA 3, International 2