This week, Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina will host the 14th Presidents Cup.
This will be the first time this event has passed to the southeast, but it’s far from the first time we’ve seen the course in action. Quail Hollow has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since 2003, with the exception of 2017 and 2022.
Let’s take a quick look at the layout of the course, and then move on to talk about each side of the competition in which the US team is up against the international team.
Looking at the stats this week, we see a par 71 that could stretch 7,571 yards from the tips. This is a powerful layout. Of course, there are various T-shirt boxes that will mix and match, so we shouldn’t expect them to tip over every day.
At the hole level, there are six par 4s that play over 460 yards.
Distance is a major advantage this week and this is confirmed by the list of recent course winners. Since 2014 among the winners JB Holmes, Rory McIlroy (x2) Justin Thomas, James Hahn, Jason Dayas well as Max Homa. Not a short hitter among the group.
On top of this week’s call for power, the track hasn’t been seeded for the fall, so it’s a sporty Bermuda bump that could be close to falling asleep for the season. This week will be solid bermudagrass. The attendants’ notes stated: “The field should be suitable for long-range hitters and not be so free-handed when the ball hits the offline.”
The other main storyline of the course is the re-routing of this week’s event. Routing will be 1-8, 12-18, 10-11, then 9 for this week’s competition. This will allow the infamous “Green Mile” to be used in more matches. The Green Mile section is holes 16 to 18 and is one of the most difficult holes in the entire TOUR rotation. Given that the home team can set up the course, it makes sense for them to do as many reps as possible on the hardest holes if they feel they have an overall skill advantage.
Historically, hole #15 has been played in 89.3% of Presidents’ Cup games, so we should expect the entire Green Mile to be played in most but not all matches.
Thursday: Five matches for four
Friday: Five matches with four balls
Saturday morning: Four matches for four
Saturday afternoon: Four matches with four balls
Sunday: 12 singles matches
Four of us = alternating shot between partners.
Four balls = each player plays their own ball, scoring the fewest points from each team on each hole.
All matches are worth one point, no holes in the playoffs (half a point for each team for a draw).
Each player must play only one match before the Sunday singles. This change took effect in the 2019 release (previously two matches were required to be played before Sunday singles).
Americans lead Davis Love III. They are considered the favorite, currently -710 to win on the betting boards.
Presidents Cup Rookies (6): Burns, Homa, Horschel, Morikawa, Scheffler, Young
Team USA is leading 11-1-1 in this tournament, having won eight in a row ahead of the 2022 edition. They are 7-0-0 on home soil.
The American team’s average OWGR rating of 11.6 is the lowest of any team ever assembled in Presidents’ Cup history. The average OWGR of the 2019 American team was 12.2, which was also the lowest at the time. Their lead in the average OWGR ranking is 37.3 positions, which is the largest gap we have ever seen in the competition (+28.6 positions in 2019). It doesn’t guarantee anything, of course. In fact, the second largest gap came in the 1998 edition (+20.8 places to Team USA), but that week the international team won.
Veterans: Jordan Spit the only American to play in his fourth Presidents’ Cup. He arrives at the event with an 8-5-1 record. Justin Thomas next in line for experience as he prepares for his third Presidents Cup (6-2-2). We’ve already seen these two good buddies pair up in a team game, but now that they have most of the experience, will they spread them out this week? There are pros and cons on both sides of this decision, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Ship management for a global team Trevor Immelman. The 42-year-old will become the youngest captain in the history of the Presidents’ Cup. Tiger Woods was 43 years old when he captained Team USA in 2019.
Presidents Cup Rookies (8): Bezuidenhout, Conners, Davis, Tom Kim, Lee, Munoz, Pendrit, Pereira
The main storyline for the international side is youth and inexperience. They brought eight rookies to the table, the most ever by a single team in Presidents’ Cup history. This week, the two teams combine to have 14 rookies, the most we’ve seen at the event (12 was the previous record set in 2019).
In terms of age in general, the average age of an international team is just 28.8 years. This is the lowest average age of any team in the history of the competition. The average age of an international team has declined in each of the last six editions.
Pendrith has something to prove? Taylor Pendrit received a captain’s pick this week, but he only ranks 109th in the OWGR. This is the lowest this week and the second highest ranked golfer ever to play in the Presidents’ Cup. Will he use this as motivation to prove he belongs? He was chosen for his strength and ability to keep up with the ball.
An experience: While most of the team will debut this week, there are two main products in the locker room: Adam Scott as well as Hideki Matsuyama. They are the only national team players who have played in more than one previous Presidents’ Cup. Matsuyama makes his fifth appearance (6-7-4) and Scott plays in his 10th Presidents Cup (16-22-6).
Team USA was already the top favorite for the 2022 Presidents Cup before the international team recently lost several key players to LIV Golf (Cam Smith and Joaquin Niemann, first of all). The Americans are 7-0-0 on home soil and their team is filled with a large number of players who fit the narrative of a big striker who should play well at Quail Hollow. They will be difficult to defeat.
That being said, the International said it could take on the underdog role and give them a fight this week in Charlotte. They have nothing to lose, as most of the world already thinks they have lost.
One thing I found interesting is that the Internationals have actually won more fourball matches historically (68 vs 65) so it could be one angle to attack if you play fantasy competition round after round or do event bets.