Rob’s prediction of the outcome will be included in a special Expert Picks on Tuesday.
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosts the 14th edition of the Presidents Cup. The US leads the series all-time, 11-1-1. Given that record, it could be argued plainly that International team captain Trevor Immelman is in a position to lose, but it’s entirely the opposite. When history suggests that you have no luck, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. For example, when Carril’s Princeton squad squared off against the defending national champion, UCLA, in the first round of 1996 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Tigers were in the same position … and they prevailed, 43-41.
Forget style points, it’s all about the objective. For Immelman’s crew to join the 1998 team as Internationals to win the Presidents Cup, it will need to be a cohesive unit, plan meticulously in advance of every session, retain focus on every stroke and set whatever result aside to be ready for the next game . Play until the whistle blows because becoming legends of the competition is at the finish line.
Regardless of over time, Quail Hollow annually has been one of the most difficult courses on the PGA TOUR. It’s been a par 71 since the PGA Championship was contested there in 2017. It’s also among the longest tracks visited regularly. For the Presidents Cup, it will be able to stretch to 7,576 yards, but serious elasticity on a handful of holes will prevent that.
Speaking of the flexible, the course has been rerouted to elevate the potential impact of The Green Mile. Traditionally holes 16, 17 and 18 for the Wells Fargo Championship, they have been shifted to play as Nos. 13, 14 and 15 for the Presidents Cup. It’s still a par-4-3-4 sequence, but now the signature stretch of the stage is all but promised to factor into the result of every match.
Overall, holes 1-8 are the same as they are for the WFC, but Nos. 12-18 are Nos. 9-15 this week, so each is three sooner in the round than the familiar walk. Nos. 16, 17 and 18 for the Presidents Cup are Nos. 10, 11 and 9, respectively, for the WFC.
Because of the challenge of the course proper, birdies will be good gets, even in Four-ball, so the Internationals should be encouraged to attempt to eliminate problems with safer and saner decisions. Elevate the floor of possibilities. Retain possession of the ball, work the clock, be more patient and let the hosts make mistakes.
Of course, United States captain Davis Love III is no stranger to anything inside the ropes, so he’ll be opposed with a front line worthy of keeping the trophy for the ninth consecutive time. He also has the luxury of natural combinations for Foursomes and Four-ball, whereas Immelman is saddled with language barriers for even basic messaging. However, and this goes for all, golf is golf no matter the nationality.
Like you, Mother Nature also wants to kick back and watch. Largely favorable conditions are forecast throughout the four-day competition. After a sweltering launch in mid-90s heat for Foursomes on Thursday, it will cool into the 70s for Friday’s Four-ball. Wind could be an influence on either day. Gradual heating will occur on Saturday for Foursomes in the morning and Four-ball in the afternoon, with another bump into the mid-80s poised for Sunday’s Singles. Rain is not expected at any time.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY: Draws and Fades
WEDNESDAY: Pick ‘Em Preview
FRIDAY: Medical Extensions, Reshuffle