Global golfers try to shock world

CHARLOTTE (AFP) — An American squad with 11 of the world’s 18 top-ranked players arrived Monday at the Presidents Cup as huge favorites for a ninth consecutive victory over a depleted Internationals lineup.

Top-ranked Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, No. 4 Patrick Cantlay, fifth-ranked Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, and multiple major winners Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Collin Morikawa lead the 12-man US team into Quail Hollow.

“I’m excited about this 12 and ready to get going,” US captain Davis Love said. “It will be a great show once Thursday starts.”

The Americans, who feature six rookies including Scheffler, own an 11-1-1 edge in the all-time rivalry, taking the past eight from the global squad. Their only loss came at Melbourne in 1998.

They face an Internationals team with a record eight rookies, their youngest-ever lineup averaging 28.8 years after defections to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series denied them British Open winner Cam Smith of Australia and top-25 players Joaquin Niemann of Chile and Abraham Ancer of Mexico.

Still, a lineup with seven newcomers tested a Tiger Woods-led US team in 2019 at Melbourne before losing 16-14.

“That fun vibe will continue with all the fresh blood in the team this time around,” Internationals veteran Adam Scott of Australia said.

“And if we can get the momentum going, we might just shock the world.”

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