Alabama’s football team won’t be playing Akron at home, but U.S. statistics have made the international team the favorite to win the Presidents Cup for the ninth straight time in two weeks.
Team USA captain Davis Love III filled the remaining roster spots with six of the 26 Colin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel, Cameron Young, Max Homma and Kevin Kisner in the Official World Golf Ranking.
He will join world No. 1 golfer Scotty Scheffler, Patrick Cantline, Xander Schuffel, Justin Thomas, Sam Burns and Tony Finan on the US team.
It will be the youngest American team in Presidents Cup history with an average age of 29.6 years. The Presidents Cup is scheduled for September 21-25 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Although the stacked American team is the favorite, Love said he needs to play well under pressure.
“It’s still going to be that stadium, that first tee, the American flag and ‘Go USA,'” Love said. “This is 12 of their players who have never played together before. They want to win for this team. I don’t think we need to do a lot of messaging or motivation. You certainly don’t want to be a team that never loses.”
Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South Korea’s Sungjae Im are ranked 16th and 18th respectively in the international team. Australia’s Cameron Smith and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, two of the stars expected from the international team, are ineligible for the team after defection to the LIV Golf circuit.
“We really understand the mountain in front of us. It’s probably the best U.S. team ever assembled if you look at them on paper in terms of their results and what their world ranking is,” international team captain Trevor Immelman said Tuesday.
The US team’s average world rating is 11.8. The international team is 48.8. The US team includes five of the top 10 players in the world and 11 in the top 20. The international team has no players in the top 10 and two in the top 20.
“Trevor will have a team that has a chip on their shoulder, is motivated and wants to prove they can still be competitive,” he said. “We have to be careful. Surely these people won’t take it lying down.”
Love essentially followed the script after losing to Will Zalatoris, who was seventh in the Presidents Cup standings, and missed the season-ending Tour Championship with a back injury. Spieth, Morikawa, Homa, Horschel and Young are ranked eighth through 12th, while veteran and match-play specialist Kisner is ranked 15th.
Tom Hoge and JT Poston were ahead of Kisner in the Presidents Cup standings, but were not selected for the team.
Kisner, 38, won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in 2019 and lost to Scheffler in the finals in 2018 and this year. Kisner went 2-0-2 and earned three points in his only Presidents Cup tournament in 2017 at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey. He is considered one of the best putters in the world and finished seventh at the 2017 PGA Championship. Held at Quail Hollow.
Scheffler, Morikawa, Burns, Horschel, Young and Homa are Presidents Cup first-timers. Scheffler and Morikawa competed in the 2021 Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits for the U.S. team that blasted Europe 19-9.
While the United States has traditionally struggled in the Ryder Cup, it has won 11 of the last 13 Presidents Cups, losing just once, 20 ½-11 ½ in Melbourne, Australia, in 1998. The teams tied 17-17 in George, South Africa. , in 2003
Behind captain Tiger Woods, Team USA won the 2019 Presidents Cup final 16-14 in Melbourne.
“We don’t have that fear of losing or that doubt in our heads that we do better in the Presidents Cup than in the Ryder Cup,” Love said. “We just came in with a lot of confidence and we have to keep that momentum going. It’s a little bit closer than we wanted last time in Australia.”