5 Takeaways from an incredible Presidents Cup
It started out looking like a runaway American victory, but a Saturday charge and a strong showing in singles by the International team made for a dramatic finish to the Presidents Cup.
While the stars from the United States delivered, the International team was led by several breakout performers that could make a difference in the event going forward.
Here are five takeaways from a great week at Quail Hollow.
Spieth, Thomas made for team golf
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have become the de facto leaders of the American team in recent years, and the pair is more than comfortable backing up their words with their play on the course. The duo blitzed the International squad in all four team sessions this week, posting a perfect record for just the third time in the event's history.
Not only have Spieth and Thomas posted a perfect record, but they did so without needing to play the 18th hole in any of the four matches. When you combine the pair's appearances in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup action, they are now an outrageous 8-2-0 as a team, tied for the most points in American history.
Spieth did get the upper hand on Thomas in singles, breaking his winless streak in that format in team events with a 4&3 win over Cameron Davis. Thomas looked to be joining him with a perfect 5-0-0 record, but Si Woo Kim snatched a 1-up victory with a late charge.
Spieth is now 21-12-4 in his career at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, while Thomas has an even better percentage at 16-5-3.
A star is born
After watching four days of action at Quail Hollow, it doesn't feel like a stretch to say that it's Tom Kim's world and we're all just living in it. The 20-year-old Korean golfer was easily the breakout star of the Presidents Cup despite not even holding PGA TOUR membership until the middle of July. From the beginning of the week, it was clear that Kim would be the heartbeat of the International team, and he was more than happy to bring the energy to the event.
Kim provided numerous clutch moments throughout the day on Saturday, canning multiple deep putts for eagle and celebrating like a lottery winner each time. But he saved his best for last, hitting a brilliant 2-iron from 240 yards on the 18th hole before pouring in the birdie to cut the U.S. lead to four points after four sessions.
The act of the designated "energy guy" in team events can often wear thin, but Kim was able to provide the spark while also remaining incredibly likable to virtually everyone. After all, it's tough to root against a guy who goes by 'Tom' because of his affinity for "Thomas the Tank Engine," isn't it?
Kim's incredible summer already saw him become the second-youngest winner on the PGA TOUR since World War II. It finished with him becoming a household name and winning the hearts of golf fans around the world.
Max Homa's heater continues
There may not be a hotter golfer on the planet than Max Homa. The 31-year-old came to Quail Hollow fresh off his second-straight Fortinet Championship, thanks to an incredible chip-in on the final hole. He didn't take long to get comfortable in his first team event for the United States, as he claimed a foursomes victory with Tony Finau in the opening session of the Presidents Cup on Thursday.
However, Friday was where Homa really showed his ability, canning two clutch putts on the 17th and 18th holes to secure a 1-up victory for the United States.
Homa capped the week with an incredible showdown against International star Tom Kim in Sunday's singles. After falling behind 3-down after 11 holes, Homa won four straight holes to flip the match and get in front for good. That ran his record to a perfect 4-0-0 for the event and an incredible debut on the international stage.
The American star may have gotten a later start on his international career in team events, but the way he performed in Charlotte should ensure he's a staple on the U.S. squad for years to come.
Si Woo rises to the moment
Tom wasn't the only Kim making noise at Quail Hollow this week, as Si Woo Kim ended the event as the highest-scoring International player. According to Justin Ray of the Twenty First Group, his No. 76 ranking in the OWGR makes Kim the worst-ranked player to win three points at the Presidents Cup.
While Kim's play over the team sessions was impressive, his singles battle against Thomas on Sunday is what everyone will remember. The emotional Kim poured in clutch putt after clutch putt, celebrating each with an emphatic fist pump. He rammed home a 10-footer for birdie on the final green to secure the full point for the Internationals.
The 27-year-old's ability to rise to the moment was much needed for Trevor Immelman and the Internationals, and he should be an automatic inclusion alongside Tom Kim in two years at Royal Montreal.
The next Presidents Cup heads to Canada at Royal Montreal in 2024, but it might best serve the Internationals to leave off players from the host country. For the first time in history, the International team featured two Canadians in Corey Conners and Taylor Pendrith. Unfortunately for that pair, they also were the only players of the 24 involved this week not to win at least half a point for their side.
Sitting 109th in the OWGR, Pendrith had the worst ranking of any player in the field, but his extreme length off the tee was thought to be a strong course fit at Quail Hollow. While he had moments with some key putts this week, he couldn't take advantage of his opportunities in his first team event.
Conners held the fourth-best ranking of any International player on the roster but could not get anything going this week in Charlotte. The 30-year-old is known for his brilliant approach play, but he struggled to get dialed in and couldn't save himself with his short game. His final showing was a 3-over 74 on Sunday that saw his opponent Xander Schauffele clinch the Cup on the final green.
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