PGA Tour

Matsuyama to sit, Internationals search for answers

2017-09-30 07:59
Hideki Matsuyama (AP)

Jersey City - Underachieving Hideki Matsuyama will have Saturday morning off as the International team try to resurrect their Presidents Cup bid against overwhelming odds.

The United States seized an astonishing six-point lead after two days of the biennial match play tournament against the Internationals.

That puts them more than halfway to the 15.5 points they need for a 10th win, with eight matches on Saturday's slate.

International captain Nick Price insisted his team's chance of lifting the Cup for just the second time isn't over.

"We're not laying down," Price vowed. "These guys are going to come out fighting over the next two days."

But Matsuyama, the top-ranked International at number three in the world, will get a breather as he sits out the foursomes on Saturday morning.

"I spoke to him this evening and he just said 'My timing's off,'" Price said. "He's just not playing well and he's the first one to admit it.

"His driving's a little off. But he's such a competitor. He still makes birdies and makes putts when he needs to and hits really good shots.

"But he's not playing his normal game and that's why we chose to sit him."

Matsuyama and Canadian Adam Hadwin were 2-up through 14 holes before settling for a halve against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in Friday's fourballs.

On Thursday, Matsuyama and Charl Schwartzel were dominated 6 & 4 by Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas in foursomes.

"Back nine, I didn't play very well at all," Matsuyama said on Friday. "It's unfortunate. I feel good that at least we won half a point."

It was all the Internationals put on the board on Friday.

Their slow start is especially frustrating for the Japanese player whose season included victories in two elite World Golf Championships events.

But Matsuyama, who led the standings going into the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup series, fizzled in the playoffs.

"I wish I knew why I haven't been playing well, but all I can do is keep working hard and look forward," he said.

"Nick will say you never know in golf, keep grinding.

"That's kind of how I feel about it, too. You just have to keep trying your best and that tide will turn sometime.

"I think every one of my teammates feels the same way: that there's still a chance."

Australian Jason Day also sounded a defiant note.

Day and compatriot Marc Leishman suffered a heartbreaking loss to Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner on Friday, leading from the first through the 14th holes only for Mickelson to grab a 1-up win for the US at the 18th.

"We've got to just keep our heads up and try to inch our way at points," Day said of the task facing the Internationals on Saturday. "That's all we can do.

"Hopefully we get ourselves into contention by Sunday and see what happens."

Read more on:    presidents cup  |  hideki matsuyama  |  golf
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