The U.S. team again captured the Presidents Cup Sunday at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, downing the international team 17½ to 12½. It was the Americans’ ninth straight win and 12th in 14 editions.
Over five days, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas emerged as the faces of Team USA golf, now Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed compete on the LIV golf circuit. South Korea’s Tom Kim became a household name, and the international team showed great heart by competing beyond expectations.
Here are five things we learned this week at Quail Hollow:
These people love each other
Everyone needs someone to love them like JT loves Jordan, and vice versa.
There is no doubt that the international team has obstacles that Americans do not face, from language barriers, cultural differences and unfamiliarity with each other.
International team captain Trevor Immelman wasn’t exaggerating (that much) when he called this American team the greatest ever assembled. The 12-man U.S. team includes five top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. Each was in 25.
And Team USA captain Davis Love III was able to release the Thomas-Speight and Xander Schauffele-Patrick Cantlay combinations in every session, much like they had Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander in five straight games.
Spieth and Thomas, who have known each other since childhood, are 4-0 in four-ball matches. Cantley and Schuffele, who are friends from California and won last season’s PGA Tour team event in New Orleans, went 2-1. The players went 3-1 on aggregate in singles.
“It’s really fun, isn’t it?” Spieth said earlier this week. “He’s my best friend in the world. We’ve played a lot of golf together. We’ve played a lot of golf against each other. We’ve played a little bit of each other now. There’s nothing more fun than these team events, playing with JT.”
When the Presidents Cup looked like it could turn into another disaster on Friday, one of the highlights was Spieth and Thomas feeding each other, punching, chest-bumping and shouting along the way.
“It’s one of those times when you get a chance to not only win a point for your team, but win a point with one of your best friends,” Thomas said. “We know each other’s game. We know how to feed each other. We know how to support each other. We know how to stay away from each other.”
And that’s what makes the core of US stars so dangerous in the team events going forward. LIV Golf may have done the Americans a favor by luring Reed, who was popularly known by fans as “Captain America” but was less popular in the team locker room. Reed complained about captain Jim Furyk’s “buddy system” when picking pairs at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris when the Americans lost 17½ to 10½.
The 12 players who competed for the USA this week really seemed to like each other. There wasn’t an elephant in the room because Bryson DeChambeau wasn’t happy with his ongoing beef with Brooks Koepka or Reed playing with Tiger Woods instead of Spieth.
At times this past week, Presidents Cup rookie Max Homma said the five-time winner on the PGA Tour isn’t particularly close to anyone on the American team. But when Homa spoke again at the news conference after Sunday’s victory, Sam Burns said wistfully: “I love you, Max.”
“I love you Sam,” Homa replied.
“Sam is the perfect example of someone I’ve always met and looked forward to spending a great time with,” Homa said.
Tom Kim is a superstar.
The South Korean phenomenon’s name is Juhyung Kim, but he prefers the childhood nickname Tom, given to him because of his love for Thomas the Tank Engine. These days, the 20-year-old has plenty of steam to his name.
It was Kim’s first coming-out party at a team event since his first PGA Tour victory at the Wyndham Championship a month earlier. He is the youngest player on both teams and the third youngest to compete in the Presidents Cup, behind Ryo Ishikawa and Jordan Spieth.
Kim went 2-3 in this week’s games, and he was the heartbeat of the international team and a crowd favorite at the Quail Hollow Club thanks to his wild celebrations. On Sunday, Kim appeared on her first tee wearing a pair of sunglasses to cheers from the crowd. He was a rock star.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 25, 2022
After losing its first two matches, Kim and his teammates at least gave the international team a glimmer of hope on Saturday.
In Saturday morning’s foursomes, Kim teamed up with South Korea’s KH Lee to take down world No. 1s Scotty Scheffler and Sam Burns. That afternoon, Kim and Si Woo Kim shocked the seemingly unbeatable Patrick Cantley and Xander Schauffele in a four-ball tournament. Kim had an eagle on the par-4 11th hole and then made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th to beat Cantline and Shuffle.
“I think the sky’s the limit,” said Kim’s caddy, Joe Skovron, who until recently was on Rickie Fowler’s bag. “When you’re 20 years old and you’ve won like he did around the world and to react like he did in this environment, you know, and he seems to have the work ethic and the plan to go with it.”
Homam is not bad
It’s hard to imagine that Homa didn’t have much faith in his game before long. He was (and still is) one of the funniest pro golfers on Twitter, but he didn’t have much to show for his career in terms of results. He was 70th in the FedEx Cup rankings at the end of the 2020 season.
Since February 2021, however, Homa has won four times on tour. In the year He won the 2021 Genesis Invitational, Fortnite Championship and Wells Fargo Championship and last week defended his Fortnite Championship in Napa, California. It didn’t arrive in Charlotte until Monday morning for the first time for the Presidents Cup.
The 31-year-old Homa presented the signature moments of the Presidents Trophy on Friday. Playing against Billy Horschel, their match against Canada’s Taylor Pendrit and Corey Connors was tied after 16 holes. Homa made a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to go 1 up. Then, after Penderith made a clutch 15-footer for birdie on the 18th, Homa made another 12-footer to win the match.
Homa improved to 4-0 in the Presidents Cup after defeating Tom Kim on Sunday. He is only the fourth Presidents Cup starter to go 4-0-0 or better.
“I’ve said it a million times, but last year, in Kiawah [Island]Homa, it was tough knowing that I didn’t have much of a chance anymore, doing what I thought would be good for the Ryder Cup,” Homa said. “It was hard to look at yourself in the mirror and all the USA gear. But I had one thing in mind and my main focus this season was to make this team and play with these guys.
“A lot went into it. And being here was one thing, then going out and playing good golf was another. And this week has been special, affirming, meaningful. It’s been meaningful.”
The PGA Tour is looking for more superstars, especially after the likes of Dustin Johnson, DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and others defected to LIV Golf. The tour should embrace Homa’s identity more than ever before.
An international team is approaching.
Despite losing for the ninth time in a row and the 12th time in 14 Presidents Cups, international team captain Trevor Immelman believes his team is on the verge of victory. The International team was the underdog this week, especially after Smith, the world No. 3 player, Marc Leishman, Abraham Anser, Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann left for LIV Golf.
While Thomas and Spieth and Burns and Scheffler are longtime friends, and many of the American players live near each other in Florida and Texas, the international team’s players are scattered around the world, making their dynamic different.
Immelman said his team has made great progress in solving the obstacles it faces. In the year He credited Ernie Els for starting the turnaround in Australia ahead of the previous Presidents Cup in 2019. Else introduced the global team crest, which is featured on player uniforms, golf bags and hats. They were selling merchandise along with the shield at Quail Hollow this week.
While others have suggested dramatic changes are needed at the Presidents Cup, from bringing in women golfers to allowing LIV golfers to compete, Immelman thinks her team will continue to improve.
We have a system and a plan and a strategy that we like, and I feel like, you know, this was an important week for us to lay two more bricks in this house that we’re trying to build. ” said Immelman. “We’ve been here for a long time in this event. We’re going to win this event. So we’re going to keep building, we’re going to keep fighting. At some point, we’re going to win.”
Love also doesn’t believe the format should change.
“There’s been no talk from Trevor or us on our teams about changing the format,” Love said. “We’re having a lot of fun, and we’re loving it, and our team is looking forward to next year in Italy and next year in Canada.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan believes the international team is headed in the right direction.
“Two of those last three were extremely competitive,” Monahan told ESPN this week. “I think what Ernie and Trevor started with was building a team and building a culture where they’re good at it and understanding that and looking at that evolution and approaching it, they’re building something that’s sustainable and really special.” And ambitious. Every player on that international team desperately wants to be on that team.
The next Presidents Cup is scheduled for September 24-29, 2024 at Royal Montreal Golf Club.
What about the 2023 Ryder Cup?
If the Americans’ 19-9 win over Europe at Whistling Straits in the 2021 Ryder Cup wasn’t proof enough, Team USA’s dominance at Quail Hollow was further proof of just how good and deep this roster is.
The next big team event is the 2023 Ryder Cup, which is set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1 Marco Simone Golf Club outside Rome, Italy.
As long as they stay healthy, as many as 10 players could return to that American roster. And don’t forget that world number 8 Will Zalatoris would have been on the Presidents Cup team if not for a back injury. It seems unlikely that Kevin Kisner and possibly Billy Horschel will return, although they could play themselves back into a roster spot.
Team Europe is led by Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the world No. 2 player, and Spain’s John Rahm, the No. 6. After a wall in Wisconsin, Team Europe may need a facelift and a boost. . Ryder Cup veterans Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia will get one after joining LIV Golf.
The upper part of the European list is very strong. US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Ireland’s Shane Lowry are strong. England’s Tyrell Hutton and Tommy Fleetwood can play good golf. Thomas Peters, Sepp Straka and Seamus Power have emerged as regulars. Italy’s Guido Migliozzi and Denmark’s Nicolai and Rasmus Højgaard are young but talented.
The challenge for the American team is to win the Ryder Cup in a foreign country, which it has not done since 1993.
“I think winning at home is special in its own way, and nothing beats that,” Spieth said. But to go there and win on the road next year will be incredibly special, and I hope I’m part of the team.
“And I’m confident in our ability to go out there and win. It’s been there in the past, but nobody here has any scars. Everybody on this panel will accept what it’s going to be like next year.”