The stage is set for a clash of the titans in the opening session of the Presidents Cup in New Jersey.
The Australian contingent will face the big guns first up, with Adam Scott and Jhonattan Vegas to square off against world No.1 Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the Thursday foursomes (alternate shot) at Liberty National.
Presidents Cup debutant Vegas has been described by teammates as the most fired up member of the Internationals and will be a good fit for eight-time Cup veteran Scott, regarded as a spiritual leader of the underdog side.
“Even though (Scott) is a quiet guy, he has a lot of fire inside of him and hopefully I’ll feed off him. No matter what happens, we’re going to fight for each other,” said Vegas.
Fellow Australians Marc Leishman and Jason Day are paired together and will face Presidents Cup stalwart Phil Mickelson, the only player to appear in all 12 editions of the Cup, and Kevin Kisner.
US team rookie Kisner is expecting a sledging match with Day.
“We’ll have a lot of fun. Me and JDay will go at it all day, for sure. But ‘Leish’ is too laidback for that,” said Kisner.
“They’re probably the strongest two players on the (Internationals) team right now. JDay has been in good form lately and Leish has been playing unbelievable golf, so we’ve got a tough task ahead of us.”
Hideki Matsuyama, the Internationals’ top-ranked player, will team up with South African former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel to take on FedEx Cup champion Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler.
Internationals rookies Emiliano Grillo and Si Woo Kim have been thrown into the deep end, coming up against world No.2 Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace will play US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.