After the first day at the Royal Melbourne Stadium, the US team failed in four of five fourball matches and was down 1-4. All four golfers chosen by Woods for special performance were released.
Of these, only Woods won the match, when he beat Joaquin Niemann-Marc Leishman with Justin Thomas. Left, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland all failed to compete on the international side. Captain Woods, though, is still optimistic about the chances of the American team and places great faith in his choices.
Gary Woodland is one of them. He will be the first to admit to you that after winning the US Open, he did not end last season as expected. But after missing the official spot, Woodland showed he deserved the special place when he entered the top 5 in the CJ Cup in Korea and the Zozo Championship in Japan.
Tony Finau is also a golfer that anyone wants to be in the team. He will light up the dressing room and walk out into the yard with great stability. It is no coincidence that he won a ticket to the Tour Championship for the past three years, despite not winning any event. That shows that Finau is a reliable person – someone that the United States desperately needs. Everyone wants to play next to Finau.
I also can’t imagine what America would do without the ‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed. Reed is one of the team veterans, with the third Presidents Cup. Failure in the match will not greatly affect him. Reed possesses the energy, passion and fighting spirit, which is very necessary for the guest team like us.
To me, being a captain and playing golfer brings some suspense. It was also a great honor when I was the second captain in the history of the tournament to both lead the USA and play. Hale Irwin did well in 1994. This will be a challenging and rewarding experience for me. I personally started off well, but the most important thing is the team’s victory.
My performance at the Zozo Championship showed that I was fine after knee surgery and could help the team. I always remember that tournament as a sweet memory, where I balanced Sam Snead’s 82-year PGA Tour title.