September 30, 2017: They are bleeding. The Internationals are down by six and the view from Liberty National has suddenly turned grim. This is the largest gap between the two teams in Presidents Cup history at the end of two rounds. Anirban Lahiri and Charl Schwartzel were handed an abysmal 6 & 5 defeat by Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman. The International team lost four of the five matches on Friday. Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Hadwin were forced to split points from a position of advantage against Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.
A tight contest in Korea emboldened the Internationals this time around. They reached New Jersey with their tails up, hoping that they had the arsenal needed to upset the apple cart.
Unfortunately though, the first two days of battle have already left these gallant heroes devastated by a relentless American team that seems to grow from strength to strength.
The score is 8-2 at the moment, making it all seem lopsided. But for much of the second day, it appeared as though the contest might be better poised at 6 and 4, even though still in favour of the Americans.
“It was unbelievable,” Stricker said. “Early in the day, it wasn’t looking like it ended up being. It wasn’t in our favor at all. Our guys just stepped it up again. They have a knack for doing that. They’re hungry. They want to win. Our motto is ‘let’s win every session.’ They did it again today. If we can do that another couple times, we’ll be in good shape.”
Reed and Spieth were down by two with just four to play. Somehow, the two young Americans found the spirit and magic needed to claw their way back and steal another half point.
The day was summed up for the Internationals when another seemingly innocuous match ended in defeat. Marc Leishman and Jason Day seemed set to halve their match against Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner till the leftie sank a 12 footer for birdie on the 18th to steal the point.
“We’ve got this wave of momentum, adrenaline, excitement, and it’s going to carry on for a little while longer,” said Mickelson. “But Captain Stricker will grab all of us together tonight and let everything kind of calm down and refocus for tomorrow, because we understand how great the players are on the International Team, what quality golf they are able to play, how close these matches have been, and how much work we have left to do.”
There are eight matches on Saturday, which could mean that this Presidents Cup could well be over on Saturday. We shall all wait and hope for a few heroes to rise from the ashes, but it will take nothing short of a miracle for the Internationals to fight their way back from here.
- In this article