Spieth, Day kept apart for Sunday singles

Published 10/10/2015, 10:49 AM EDT
U.S. team member Jordan Spieth reacts after sinking his putt on the ninth hole during their four ball matches of the 2015 Presidents Cup golf tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, October 10, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

INCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) – The head-to-head showdown golf fans had been calling for between the top two players in the world, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, failed to materialise at the Presidents Cup as team tactics took precedence ahead of the all-important Sunday singles.

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With the United States leading by a point, and the Internationals the closest they have been at this stage since 2005, team captains Jay Haas and Nick Price moved their pieces around the chessboard like cagey grandmasters.

Spieth and Day played against each other twice on Saturday, though both times with partners in the foursome and four-ball formats. The American came out on top in both matches.

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Spieth will face Marc Leishman in the ninth match on Sunday, with Day taking on Zach Johnson in the following pairing.

U.S. captain Jay Haas said he “heard some groans” when the Spieth v Day matchup did not work out but added that the Presidents Cup was not about individuals.

“They played two matches against each other this week, so not a head-to-head personal battle,” he said after the pairings were announced.

“They have played a lot of golf during the season. So I don’t know if it was a make-or-break (for) the Presidents Cup if they played or didn’t play. So, I don’t know if we were too concerned about that matchup.”

With the United States leading 9.5 to 8.5, the one-point differential is the closest the matches have been heading into the singles since the two teams were tied in 2005.

With the points tally reduced to 30 from 34 this year, teams require 15.5 points to win the Cup.

The Americans are looking for their ninth win in 11 editions of the biennial event, which is being played in Asia for the first time, but the Internationals have their best chance in years to win the Cup for just the second time.

Price said it was impossible to get all the matchups you wanted in the singles.

“You get six of what you want and you get six of what you don’t want when you do it this way,” he said.

International assistant captain K.J. Choi predicted it would go down to the wire.

“We think that at the end of the day, it will be maybe one point or half a point that will make or break this year’s Presidents Cup,” he said.

“I have played in the Presidents Cup three times and this is the first time that we are going into the singles matches with only a one-point difference. It has always been four to six-point differences.”

– – – –

Singles matches:

(International v the United States)

Louis Oosthuizen v Patrick Reed

Adam Scott v Rickie Fowler

Danny Lee v Dustin Johnson

Hideki Matsuyama v J.B. Holmes

Thongchai Jaidee v Bubba Watson

Steven Bowditch v Jimmy Walker

Charl Schwartzel v Phil Mickelson

Anirban Lahiri v Chris Kirk

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Marc Leishman v Jordan Spieth

Jason Day v Zach Johnson

Branden Grace v Matt Kuchar

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Bae Sang-moon v Bill Haas

(Content by Peter Rutherford, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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