(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
By Joel Beall
JERSEY CITY, N.J.—This season will be remembered as the Year of Justin Thomas. Fitting then that the 24-year-old will kick the festivities off at Liberty National.
Captains Steve Stricker and Nick Price announced their pairings for Thursday’s action at the 2017 Presidents Cup, which will be played in foursomes (alternate shot) format. In the first group, the Americans will send out Thomas and Rickie Fowler against the duo of Hideki Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel.
Aside from the Thomas-Fowler combo, the United States is highlighted by Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, the supergroup that’s been effective for the U.S. in past team events. Spieth and Reed will face Si Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo, both rookies for the Internationals.
“It’s always difficult with the rookies because they have never been on a team before and trying to figure out who is going to play with who,” said Price. “Si-Woo and Emiliano are two incredibly talented young players. They played well in the practice rounds.”
The matches are rounded out by Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar taking on Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas, Brooks Kopeka and Daniel Berger against Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace (who went a perfect 4-0 together in Korea), and Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner joining forces to battle Jason Day and Marc Leishman.
Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman are on the sidelines for the U.S., which is not necessarily a surprise: both have been under the weather this week. For the Internationals, Adam Hadwin and Anirban Lahiri will sit out the Thursday proceedings.
The 12th Presidents Cup begins at 1:05 PM on Thursday in Jersey City. The United States has won the last six matches.