Jersey City, September 28
Anirban Lahiri will sit out of the first session of the Presidents Cup as five sets of players from either side will clash in the foursomes — alternate shots — at the Liberty National Golf Club. Even though the Internationals ran the US team very close and lost by just one point last year, the latter are strong favourites with three of the world’s top four stars in their team.
Though the US have won nine of 11 prior editions of the event, with one tie and just one International victory, in 1998 in Melbourne, International captain Price still felt the one-point defeat two years ago in Incheon, South Korea, was “a shot in the arm” for players like Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, and Jason Day. While announcing his pairings, Price said, “We took the tough decisions to bench Anirban (Lahiri) and also Adam Hadwin, but they are going to get their shot.” Lahiri even while being slightly disappointed at not going on the first day, said, “I wanted to go out there – I’m eager. Let’s just put it that way that I’m eager to go out there and perform. But you know, at the end of the day, it’s important to have the dynamics and the whole flow of the team right.”
“There are lots of good reasons behind captain Price’s decisions today about the pairings. We’re going to keep that to ourselves, but obviously I’m going to be looking forward to getting my chance.”
Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas will lead the US team out against the strong pairing of Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel.
In the second group, International team captain Price has paired Australian Adam Scott with Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela against world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. Following them will be the established Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed against rookies Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim. The fourth group sees South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace take on US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger. And, the final clash will be Phil Mickelson, who has played on each of the Presidents Cup teams for US with Kevin Kisner against Jason Day and Marc Leishman.
“I am likely to tee it up on Friday, and I’m just going to come out here tomorrow and prepare the best as possible so that when I go out on Friday, I’m 100 percent ready,” Lahiri said. Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman will be on the sidelines for the US team.
Pairings: Foursomes (alternate shots): Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas vs Hideki Matsuyama/Charl Schwartzel; Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar vs Adam Scott/Jhonattan Vegas; Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed vs Si Woo Kim/Emiliano Grillo; Brooks Kopeka/Daniel Berger vs L Oosthuizen/Branden Grace; Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner vs Jason Day/Marc Leishman. — PTI