JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Nick Price’s International team heads into Saturday’s eight matches in search of a Presidents Cup miracle.
The mighty US team built a commanding 8-2 lead over the first two days, and are more than halfway to the 15.5 points they need to lift the trophy.
Mathematically, they could even wrap up a 10th triumph on Saturday and make Sunday’s 12 singles matches moot, but Price thinks his players are better than that.
“If you have a look at what’s happened the last two days, we could have been 3-2 up yesterday, and today we were up in three of the matches, so it could be quite feasible for the whole match to be dead even now,” Price said.
“But they finished off better than we have, so that’s what we’ve got to do over the next two days, finish off better than we have been doing and close it out a little earlier.”
Price is sending some battle-hardened teams into the fray in Saturday morning’s foursomes.
Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman will take on Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
Aussie Adam Scott will team with Canada’s Adam Hadwin against world number one Dustin Johnson and veteran Matt Kuchar.
Venezuelan Jhonattan Vegas and Argentinian Emiliano Grillo will take on Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner, and the South African duo of Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen will take on Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas.
Grace and Oosthuizen were undefeated together in five Presidents Cup matches before the emerging star pairing of Fowler and Thomas schooled them 3&2 in the fourball on Friday.
“Tomorrow is going to be a tough day,” Price said. “It’s going to be cold tomorrow. It’s going to be windy again. Hopefully these pairings work.”
While Price is busy shoring up morale, US captain Steve Stricker will be urging his team not to be complacent.
“We’ve got 20 points left,” Stricker said. “We’ve got a way to go yet, and we’ll keep telling them that.”
But Stricker believes this team have something special – beyond their statistical edge in world rankings and wins this season.
“This reminds me a lot of the 2008 Ryder Cup team, when we were finally able to win at Valhalla,” Stricker said.
“A lot of close-knit guys there on that team. But this team I think is even better than that. They are young, they are explosive, they have a lot of fun with one another... and they are playing great golf.”