Reigning major champions Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas lead a strong United States team into the Presidents Cup, where they are favoured to win for the ninth time in a row.
The Americans lead the all-time series 11-1-1 and have never lost on home soil entering the 14th edition of the team golf match, which begins Thursday at Quail Hollow.
“A stacked and powerful American team,” said Internationals captain Trevor Immelman. “They’re coming in with a lot of assurance.”
The Americans have ten players ranked among the top 16 in the world, while the Internationals have none.
Two-time major winner Thomas, who won his first PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in 2017 and his second in May at Southern Hills, is among the six US players with Presidents Cup experience, as is Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele.
“It’s a lot of fun to have a team like this with great camaraderie and a lot of deep talent,” Thomas said.
Patrick Cantlay, last year’s PGA playoff champion, won two of his eight PGA titles this year, including the PGA pairs event in New Orleans with Xander Schauffele. They are also expected to be a Cup twosome.
Jordan Spieth, a three-time major champion who is making his fourth Presidents Cup appearance, won his 13th PGA title at the Heritage in April.
“You’ve seen a lot of stuff once you’ve played in a couple of them,” Spieth said. “We have a few guys with that level of experience on the team.”
Tony Finau won the PGA 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in back-to-back weeks at the end of July.
Kevin Kisner, the oldest US player at 38 years old, won twice and halved twice in his previous Presidents Cup appearance in 2017.
Top-ranked Masters champion Scheffler is one of six Presidents Cup rookies, having won four times this year and being voted PGA Player of the Year by his peers. Scheffler made his Ryder Cup debut last year, winning twice and tying once.
“We have a good team again this year, and a lot of guys who are playing well right now,” Scheffler said.
Collin Morikawa, the winner of the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 British Open, is also among the newcomers from the United States.
Max Homa is another newcomer, having won his first PGA title at Quail Hollow in 2019 and his most recent last Sunday. He was adamant about making the team.
“It’s been a lot of fun having this to chase,” Homa said. “It feels a little surreal to finally be here.”
Cameron Young finished second at the British Open and third at the PGA this year.
Sam Burns has two victories this season and four in the last 16 months.
Billy Horschel won the Memorial this year for his seventh PGA title, and the 35-year-old finished second in the PGA pairs event with Burns in a likely Cup pairing. Horschel is regarded as the team’s emotional spark.
“Everyone is encouraging me to be this energizer, like a cheerleader,” Horschel said. “I can be that way. But please understand that it may not happen because we do not require it.”
Horschel, on the other hand, is not concerned about overconfidence.
“We know how to handle it.” “This is nothing new for us,” he explained. “We haven’t talked about it because I think we all know what we need to do.”