Day heads underdogs in Presidents Cup

Jason Day has promised to lead by example when the International team attempt to pull off a massive boilover by beating the USA for just the second time in Presidents Cup history.


The odds are heavily stacked against captain Nick Price’s Internationals.

Australia’s world No.2 Day is the only top 10 player in the side, while the Americans have six of the top 10, including No.1 Jordan Spieth, at the four-day contest to be staged at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea from Thursday.

All 12 American players are in the top 28 in the world rankings while six of the Internationals are from outside the top 30.

History is no help to the Internationals’ confidence.

Since the biennial team event began in 1994, the International side has only one victory – at Royal Melbourne in 1998, and one tie, in South Africa in 2003.

They have lost eight times.

With the overall points in the four-day contest dropping from 34 to 30, Day and his team are hopeful things can be different this time around as their depth won’t be as exposed as in previous encounters.

“I know I will have to play my best for the team and so will all of the boys if we are going to be successful,” said Day, who has an individual 4-4-2 record from his two previous cups.

“We have managed to get a deduction in overall points this time around so hopefully that will mean it is competitive going into the Sunday singles.

“If we can get there with a chance I know the boys are going to be fired up to finally get our hands on that trophy.”

Joining Day in the fight are fellow Australians Adam Scott (world No.14), Marc Leishman (No.37) and captain’s pick Steven Bowditch (No.58), South Africans Charl Schwartzel (No.47), Louis Oosthuizen (No.13) and Branden Grace (No.22), Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (No.15), New Zealander Danny Lee (No.36), Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (No.31), India’s Anirban Lahiri (No.39) and captain’s pick Sangmoon Bae of South Korea (No.88).

Scott is the veteran of the team with the 35-year-old having played in the last six Presidents Cups for a 12-15-3 individual record.

He will also be called upon to lead from the front and will be the team room’s motivational mentor along with captain Nick Price.

Schwartzel (5-4-1) is the only International team member with a winning record in the competition while Leishman (2-2-0), Matsuyama (1-3-1), Oosthuizen (1-3-1) and Grace (0-4-0) return for their second cup after being part of the 2013 loss.

Bowditch, Lee, Jaidee, Lahiri and Bae make their debuts in the competition.

The Americans are headlined by Spieth and also boast top 10 players in Bubba Watson (No.4), Rickie Fowler (No.5), Dustin Johnson (No.8), Jim Furyk (No.9) and Zach Johnson (No.10).

Matt Kuchar (No.16), JB Holmes (No.18), Phil Mickelson (No.24), Chris Kirk (No.27), Patrick Reed (No.19) and Jimmy Walker (No.17) will also don the red, white and blue with their worst-ranked player being Bill Haas at No.29.

“There is no doubt their team is stacked with talent,” Day said.

“But we don’t mind being the underdog.

“Players in this competition are capable of beating any other on their day.

“We need to find a way to be energised, motivated and at our best if we are to rattle them.”

Play starts on Thursday with five Foursomes matches before five Four Ball matches on Friday. Saturday has four Foursomes matches in the morning and four Four Ball matches in the afternoon before Sunday pits all 12 players into singles battles to decide the Cup.