Spieth, Homa and Cantlay help team United States to undefeated second day at Presidents Cup

By Sports Desk September 23, 2022

Friday was the second day of The Presidents Cup, and the second day in a row the United States team came away with four of the five points on offer to lead 8-2 in the best-of-30 competition.

After foursomes was the format on Thursday, things moved to four-ball for the second trip around Quail Hollow, meaning all four golfers in their matchup play each hole, with only the best score from each duo counting towards their score.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele – the reigning champions from the PGA Tour's only team event during the season, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans – showed no signs of slowing down after their blistering 6 and 5 win in the opening round, again delivering the biggest margin of victory for the day.

They defeated the duo of Hideki Matsuyama and Tom Kim 3 and 2, and the International team needed to mount a comeback to even survive that long as the United States were 5up through eight holes.

Kim was responsible for all three winning holes for his duo, with birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th, while Cantlay and Schauffele evenly split their six triumphant holes with three apiece.

The only other fixture to not go the full 18 was Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas' 2 and 1 win against Australian duo Cam Davis and Adam Scott.

It was another hot start for the United States, with back-to-back birdies from Thomas and one from Spieth putting them 3up through eight holes, and although Davis and Scott both won a hole each down the back-nine, they were never able to bring the margin to within one.

Things were much more competitive in Max Homa and Billy Horschel's 1up win against Canadians Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith, as the Americans picked up the lead with one hole to play.

Team United States took a 2up lead into the back-nine, which was quickly erased by Conners with two birdies on the 11th and 13th, leaving things tied until the 17th, where Homa delivered a clutch birdie to secure the win.

There were no wins for the Internationals on Friday, but they collected two half-points as the duos of Mito Pereira and Christiaan Bezuidenhout as well as Im Sung-jae and Sebastian Munoz held on to salvage something from the day.

Im and Munoz had a tough matchup against world number one Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns, but it was Burns doing most of the heavy lifting for the United States, winning three of his team's four holes.

Munoz won three of the Internationals' four holes, including a par on the 17th as both Americans bogeyed to even things up.

Lastly, Pereira and Bezuidenhout were leading through 13 holes, before Cameron Young tied it and collected another half-point for his duo with Kevin Kisner.

Saturday will see teams contest both foursomes and four-ball rounds, before the competition moves to singles play on Sunday.

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  • Some of the key questions after Jon Rahm’s LIV switch Some of the key questions after Jon Rahm’s LIV switch

    Masters champion Jon Rahm has become LIV Golf’s most significant signing since it launched just 18 months ago.

    The world number three’s decision to join the Saudi-funded breakaway represents a huge U-turn and deepens the divisions in the men’s professional game.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at the background to the move and what could happen next?

    Has Rahm always been interested in LIV Golf?

    While players like Rory McIlroy openly voiced their opposition, Rahm was always more measured in his comments, making it clear he felt LIV players should be allowed to play in this year’s Ryder Cup and saying he did not blame two young compatriots David Puig and Eugenio Chacarra for cutting short their college careers to take the money on offer. However, he did pledge his loyalty to the PGA Tour in February last year, criticised LIV’s 54-hole, no-cut format and insisted he played golf to make history, not money.

    So what changed?

    The Framework Agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls LIV, appears to have been the catalyst. All the players were blindsided by the sudden announcement of a potential peace deal on June 6, with Rahm revealing he was making breakfast when he heard the news and feared his phone was “going to catch fire” as texts and calls streamed in. A week later at the US Open, Rahm described it as a “bombshell” and admitted many players felt a “bit of betrayal from management”. That no doubt caught the attention of those in charge of LIV, who eventually made Rahm an offer that he felt he could not turn down, even if it meant risking his Ryder Cup future.

    What is the situation with the Ryder Cup?

    As long as he remains a DP World Tour member by playing in at least four regular events a season, Rahm will be eligible to try to qualify for the Ryder Cup or receive a wild card from captain Luke Donald. However, he will face fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases from the DP World Tour. McIlroy has already stressed the need for Rahm to be on the team which will try to retain the trophy at Bethpage Black in 2025, leaving the DP World Tour in a potentially awkward position.

    How many more players will now join LIV?

    Plenty of names have already been linked with jumping ship, although Poland’s Adrian Meronk was quick to quash rumours suggesting he would be among them having only recently earned his PGA Tour card. A place on Rahm’s team, which has yet to be determined, would certainly be appealing financially and they would not come in for the same level of scrutiny and criticism as the two-time major winner.

    What happens next?

    Of course there remains the possibility that the Framework Agreement leads to a definitive deal between the rival factions and that players will be free to compete wherever they wish. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and PIF chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan are due to meet shortly in pursuit of a deal before the deadline of December 31, which can be extended. However, if either party walks away, with private equity potentially offering the PGA Tour alternative funding sources, the game could be split once again and face years of further acrimony and upheaval.

  • Rory McIlroy expects Ryder Cup changes after Jon Rahm’s LIV switch Rory McIlroy expects Ryder Cup changes after Jon Rahm’s LIV switch

    Rory McIlroy believes the rules on Ryder Cup eligibility will have to be rewritten in the wake of Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf.

    McIlroy stated on numerous occasions that he did not think LIV players should be available for selection for this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome, where he and Rahm played starring roles in helping Europe to a convincing victory.

    However, the world number two believes the deal between the DP World Tour, PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has “legitimised” LIV and wants Rahm on Luke Donald’s side when they attempt to retain the trophy at Bethpage Black in 2025.

    “Jon is going to be in Bethpage in 2025 so, because of this decision, the European Tour (DP World Tour) are going to have to rewrite the rules for the Ryder Cup eligibility, absolutely,” McIlroy told Sky Sports News.

    “There’s no question about that – I certainly want Jon Rahm on the next Ryder Cup team.

    “I’m going to miss competing against him week in and week out. He’s got so much talent, he’s so tenacious, he’s a great team-mate in the Ryder Cup.

    “Is it disappointing to me? Yes. But the landscape of golf changed on June 6, when the framework agreement was announced and I think because of that it made the jump from the PGA Tour to  LIV a little easier for guys.

    “They let the first guys really take the heat and then this framework agreement legitimised basically what LIV was trying to do, then I think it’s made it easier now if that’s really what you want to do.”

    As things stand, Rahm will be eligible for the Ryder Cup as long as he remains a DP World Tour member, which requires him to play in four regular tournaments per season.

    He will also earn points towards qualification through major championships, but faces fines and suspensions for playing in LIV tournaments without the required “conflicting event” releases from the DP World Tour.

    In April this year, an arbitration panel ruled that the Tour had the right to sanction players for such “serious breaches” of its code of behaviour, a case sparked by 12 players appealing against fines of £100,000 and suspension from the Scottish Open for playing LIV’s inaugural event in June 2022.

    It is understood that fines and suspensions are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with former LIV player Bernd Wiesberger currently serving a ban after paying all of his fines in order to regain his DP World Tour membership for the new season.

    Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood resigned their memberships in the wake of the arbitration panel’s decision, while Henrik Stenson was sacked as Ryder Cup captain after joining the Saudi-funded breakaway.

  • Jon Rahm says switch to LIV Golf is the best for his family Jon Rahm says switch to LIV Golf is the best for his family

    Masters champion Jon Rahm has joined LIV Golf in a massive coup for the Saudi-funded breakaway.

    The 29-year-old becomes the second current major champion on the LIV circuit after US PGA champion Brooks Koepka.

    In a conference call on Thursday, Rahm looked to explain the reasons behind a decision which is set to again cause controversy within the sport.

    “Every decision I feel like we make in life there will be somebody who agrees and likes it and somebody who doesn’t, right,” Rahm said.

    “I made this decision because I believe it’s the best for me and my family and everybody I’ve been able to talk to has been really supportive of me, so I’m very comfortable with my decision.

    “I’m no stranger to hearing some negative things on social media or in media. It’s part of what it is, we’re public figures but you just learn to deal with it right? This certainly won’t define who I am or change who I am.”

    Following confirmation of his switch to LIV, Rahm added in an official press release statement: “I am proud to join LIV Golf and be part of something new that is bringing growth to the sport.

    “I have no doubt that this is a great opportunity for me and my family and am very excited for the future.”

    Rahm played a leading role in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in Rome this year – but joining LIV places his future in the contest in serious jeopardy as he needs to remain a DP World Tour member to be eligible.

    Former LIV player Bernd Wiesberger recently rejoined the DP World Tour, but only after paying hefty fines and serving a lengthy suspension.

    On his Ryder Cup future, Rahm said in the conference call: “My position with the Ryder Cup stands as it’s always been. I love the Ryder Cup.

    “I’ve explained many times how meaningful it is to me and I surely hope I can be in future editions of the Ryder Cup.

    “That’s not up to me right now, but if it was up to me, I’ll be eligible to play so I surely hope I can keep up the good golf, keep playing good golf and give them a reason to have me on the team.”

    “It’s a big risk to take, but I’ve had it in consideration and again, I’m hopeful that I can be part of the team again.”

    Rahm expressed his “fealty” to the PGA Tour in February 2022 and, in September that year, rubbished rumours that he would jump ship in reply to a post on Twitter which claimed he was about to sign for LIV.

    The Spaniard had gone on record to state “my heart is with the PGA Tour”, but later admitted players felt a sense of “betrayal” at the secret deal which was negotiated between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls LIV Golf.

    Speaking ahead of the 2022 US Open at Brookline, the week after LIV had staged its first event, Rahm also said the 54-hole format held no appeal and hinted that he had turned down an offer of 400million US dollars (£315m) to switch circuits.

    However, after signing on with LIV, the Spaniard said: “Obviously the past two years there’s been a lot of evolving on the game of golf, things have changed a lot and so have I.

    “Seeing the growth of LIV Golf, seeing the evolution of LIV Golf and innovation is something that has really captured my attention.

    “I think the growth that I’ve seen and how it’s become a global business, right, and how we can impact golf globally, and in a much meaningful way, is something that’s been very enticing.

    “For all those things that I like about this movement, there’s always going to be some things that are not perfect, but that’s the situation in everybody’s life.

    “With that said, it’s an ever-growing and ever-changing machine, right. So I’m hopeful that the leaders of LIV Golf might listen to some of my advice and maybe see some changes in the future for the better of the game.”

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