(Note use of language in third para that some readers may find offensive)
By Andrew Both
JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (Reuters) – International captain Nick Price was left scratching his head in search of answers as he prepared for Saturday’s resumption at the Presidents Cup.
With the United States team already leading 8-2, only a massive turnaround in the eight matches on Saturday will leave any suspense heading into Sunday’s 12 singles at Liberty National.
“These guys are trying their arses off,” Price said. “I don’t know what the recipe is. This is my third time (as captain) and I’m still trying to figure it out.”
The International team, comprised of players from around the world except for Europe, have lost nine of the 11 competitions and Price said it was difficult to come together as a team.
Price’s task has become harder with his top-ranked player, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, struggling to the point he was dropped for Saturday morning’s foursomes.
“I think we’ve got some strong teams out there tomorrow. So hopefully we can turn it around,” said Price, who will send out Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the first match.
U.S. captain Steve Stricker was not quite ready to deliver his victory speech, but said the team was one of the strongest he has been involved with.
“I’ve been on some pretty special teams. This reminds me a lot of the 2008 Ryder Cup team there when we finally were able to win at Valhalla.
“But this team is even I think better than that. They are young, they are explosive, they have a lot of fun with one another.
“We’re getting along great in the team room and they are playing great golf.”
Stricker’s toughest decision was deciding which four players to leave out on Saturday morning with their depth such that Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell were benched, despite their runaway 6&5 victory on Friday.
Saturday morning’s four alternate-shot foursomes will be followed by four four-ball (better ball) matches in the afternoon.
FOURSOMES MATCHES ON SATURDAY AT PRESIDENTS CUP, (U.S. NAMED FIRST):
Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed v Jason Day/Marc Leishman
Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar v Adam Scott/Adam Hadwin
Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner v Jhonattan Vegas/Emiliano Grillo
Justin Thomas/Rickie Fowler v Louis Oosthuizen/Branden Grace
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)