Will Tiger do better with new partner?

BY foxsports • November 17, 2011

With a 4-2 lead, the U.S. team has its sixth first-day lead in nine Presidents Cups and extended its points earned in the first day to 29.5 vs. 14.5 for the Internationals. Historically, every time the U.S. takes a first-day lead, the Americans have won the tournament.

With Fred Couples sticking to his prearranged script, switching around the Steve Stricker/Tiger Woods partnership and substituting Dustin Johnson for Stricker (who will play with Matt Kuchar on Friday), the other four pairings are the same as they were on Day One.

The Internationals, on the other hand, have to make some adjustments to pair less-experienced players with those already comfortable playing Royal Melbourne.

Here is our analysis of the pairings for Day Two.

MATCH ONE (5:35 P.M. EST): Bubba Watson / Webb Simpson (U.S.) vs. Ernie Els / Ryo Ishikawa

Analysis: Els' knowledge around Royal Melbourne did little to quell the U.S. rout on Thursday. Japan’s Ishikawa looked like a fish out of water in Thursday's first-round matches, and there is no reason to think Friday will be any different.

The team of Watson/Simpson made seven birdies in alternate shot in 16 bogey-less holes. Expect more of the same. Momentum is a funny thing.

Prediction: United States

MATCH TWO (5:49 P.M. EST): Dustin Johnson / Tiger Woods vs. Aaron Baddeley / Jason Day

Analysis: Woods' first day is one he would like to forget, teaming with Steve Stricker in losing 7 and 6 to Adam Scott and K.J. Choi. It has to get better, but he is up against a couple of players who coughed up a 2-up lead with consecutive bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes. Don’t expect that again.

Woods has never been paired with Johnson in a Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup and -- after Thursday’s performance -- the pairing may be more an audition than anything else.

Prediction: Internationals

MATCH THREE (6:03 P.M. EST): Phil Mickelson / Jim Furyk vs. Adam Scott / K.T. Kim

Analysis: The Mickelson/Furyk pairing made seven birdies and never was in trouble with its 4 & 3 victory Thursday. But the next nut will be a little harder to crack after Scott’s 7-and-6 win over Woods and Stricker.

Unfortunately for Scott, he had to give up his partner from Thursday (Choi) in favor of Kim.

According to International captain Greg Norman, Kim needs help playing Royal Melbourne. That's not a good situation for Scott, who will be acting as mentor while playing a formidable U.S. team.

Prediction: United States

MATCH FOUR (6:17 P.M. EST): Bill Haas / Nick Watney vs. Geoff Oglivy  / K.J. Choi

Analysis: U.S. captain Fred Couples thought a good chemistry existed between Haas and Watney and he was right for one day. Will he be right for two? Ogilvy knows Royal Melbourne backward and forward, but it wasn’t enough for him to win with Charl Schwartzel. Now, Choi is next up for Ogilvy.

With Choi's successful pairing with Scott on Day One, the Internationals would seem to have a distinct advantage.

Prediction: Internationals

MATCH FIVE (6:31 P.M. EST): Steve Stricker / Matt Kuchar (U.S.) vs. Y.E. Yang / Robert Allenby

Analysis: This may be a throwaway pairing for both captains. Stricker clearly is not 100 percent, and Kuchar/Dustin Johnson never held a lead in the first day’s matches.

Yang was split up from Kim because both struggled at Royal Melbourne. Pairing Yang with Allenby is similar to the Scott/Kim pairing. It seems doubtful that it will work.

Prediction: United States

MATCH SIX (6:45 P.M. EST): Hunter Mahan / David Toms (U.S.) vs. Retief Goosen / Charl Schwartzel 

Analysis: Mahan/Toms won 6 and 5 on Day One, but that was against Kim/Yang, two inexperienced players around Royal Melbourne. Now Goosen and Schwartzel step up to the plate, but like Kim/Yang, the two South Africans have limited experience around Royal Melbourne, as well.

Mahan’s play over the last month might be exactly what is needed, especially after a lopsided victory Thursday.

Prediction: United States

Predicted overall score at the end of the day: U.S. 8, Internationals 4

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