Sunday singles matches

Originally Published: October 8, 2008
ESPN.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- If the International team is going to win its second Presidents Cup, captain Greg Norman's squad will need to make history.

In the seven previous editions of this event, the United States has won the Sunday singles session four times, while halving it twice. Only once has the International side triumphed in this format; that came two years ago at Royal Montreal.

Yet even a repeat performance wouldn't be enough to claim this year's title. Trailing 12.5-9.5, the Internationals need to win eight full points in order to win the Cup; one half-point less and it would end in a tie.

Can Norman's squad pull off the improbable here at Harding Park Golf Course? Or will Fred Couples' team be celebrating for the third straight time? Let's break down the 12 singles matches:
-- Jason Sobel

International team flagInternational Team:
Camilo Villegas
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Hunter Mahan
Match Status: 12:10 p.m. ET
Match preview: The first match of the day pits two players who are not having their best weeks. Both sat out Saturday afternoon's four-ball competition, so they ought to be itching to go. International captain Greg Norman needs points early to get momentum on his team's side, so putting out a guy who is 0-3 seems risky.

Advantage: Mahan -- Bob Harig
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Adam Scott
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Stewart Cink
Match Status: 12:21 p.m. ET
Match preview: Again, another curious choice by Norman to put Scott in this position. He is just 1-3 so far, and the controversial captain's pick is going up against the British Open champion in Cink, who is playing better than his 0-3-1 record suggests. Still, the first two matches are among players who have just two victories between them in the Presidents Cup.

Advantage: Cink
-- Bob Harig
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Mike Weir
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Justin Leonard
Match Status: 12:32 p.m. ET
Match preview: These are two players with very similar games and grind-it-out mentalities. Both are having good Cups, and both have been known for their Sunday singles heroics: Leonard's victory at the 1999 Ryder Cup and Weir's over Tiger Woods at the 2007 Presidents Cup in Canada.

Advantage: Weir
-- Bob Harig
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Robert Allenby
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Anthony Kim
Match Status: 12:43 p.m. ET
Match preview: For some undisclosed reason, Allenby came into the Presidents Cup with a chip on his shoulder regarding a slight about his game. He's responded with a 2-1-1 record and played nicely Saturday afternoon with countryman Geoff Ogilvy. Kim has been erratic so far, and this will be a big match if the International side is to make a go of it.

Advantage: Allenby
-- Bob Harig
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Geoff Ogilvy
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Steve Stricker
Match Status: 12:54 p.m. ET
Match preview: Ogilvy sat out the morning session Saturday after a poor first two days and bounced back in the afternoon to get his first point. He'll need the boost of confidence going up against Stricker, who is 4-0 and did a good bit of the damage in his partnership with Tiger Woods on Saturday. Norman is counting on Ogilvy to get him a point here.

Advantage: Stricker
-- Bob Harig
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Ernie Els
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Sean O'Hair
Match Status: 1:05 p.m. ET
Match preview: A grizzled veteran versus a rookie. Els has been through this several times and is having a solid week at 3-1. O'Hair didn't get going until paired with Phil Mickelson on Saturday. He won't have Lefty to hold his hand in singles, but an upset of Els would severely doom the International chances.

Advantage: Els
-- Bob Harig
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Ryo Ishikawa
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Kenny Perry
Match Status: 1:16 p.m. ET
Match preview: When Norman put Ishikawa's name on the board, Couples just laughed, shrugged his shoulders and offered up Perry. The reason for some humor? This match pits the oldest man in this year's event (49-year-old Perry) against the youngest (18-year-old Ishikawa). When he played earlier this year with Rory McIlroy -- who was one year younger at the time -- Perry said, "At 19, I physically could have played, but mentally I could not have handled it out here."

He's about to be blown away by the poise of young Ryo, who has played the part of a grizzled veteran throughout this week. The old guy may have the experience, but the teen sensation is playing better right now.

Advantage: Ishikawa
-- Jason Sobel
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Tim Clark
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Zach Johnson
Match Status: 1:27 p.m. ET
Match preview: Should be a fun match between two like-minded players. Neither Johnson nor Clark is going to wow spectators with prodigious blasts off the tee, but each guy keeps it in play and doesn't make many mistakes. Of course, that means this one will come down to the guy with a better short game.

Give Zach the edge from around the greens and he's usually a better putter, too. But the gritty South African has been sweeping in plenty of putts with that broomstick of his throughout the week. If Clark can keep it up, he may be able to beat the former Masters champ in an upset.

Advantage: Clark
-- Jason Sobel
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Y.E. Yang
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Tiger Woods
Match Status: 1:38 p.m. ET
Match preview: When Norman placed Yang's name on the big board, Couples was quick to counter with Woods, telling his fellow captain, "You knew that match was coming." This one, of course, is a rematch of the PGA Championship final round -- something the most recent major winner may not even want.

"As far as the question concerning the rematch, never again," Yang said after beating Woods at Hazeltine National in August. "I would like to stay as the guy who won over Tiger at the PGA Championship, and that's about it. No redos."

No such luck. Instead, expect TW to exact a little revenge on the first man to beat him head-to-head in the final round of a major.

Advantage: Woods
-- Jason Sobel
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Vijay Singh
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Lucas Glover
Match Status: 1:49 p.m. ET
Match preview: At 2-0-2, Singh remains the lone unbeaten player on the International team this week, though that stat may be a bit misleading as he's benefited from the hot putting of partners Allenby and Clark. Even so, he's playing much better than Glover, who recorded just three birdies in 35 holes of four-balls over the past two days.

Truth be told, the reigning U.S. Open champ looks tired, out of sorts and a far cry from the guy who triumphed at Bethpage four months ago. He'll have all he can handle in this one.

Advantage: Singh
-- Jason Sobel
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Retief Goosen
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Phil Mickelson
Match Status: 2 p.m. ET
Match preview: Did Couples want to backload his lineup with his strongest players? Or was he holding Mickelson specifically for Goosen? It may have been a little of both, although the U.S. skipper revealed afterward that he doesn't believe in backloading his lineup.

Consider this one a heavyweight title fight. Goosen is a two-time major champion who can hang with anyone on any given day and never seems to get rattled, but Mickelson is playing some terrific golf this week, having posted a 3-0-1 record in team matches.

If Lefty can keep that forward press putting style going and hole some more putts, he could make things very tough on Retief.

Advantage: Mickelson
-- Jason Sobel
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.

International team flagInternational Team:
Angel Cabrera
U.S. flagU.S. Team:
Jim Furyk
Match Status: 2:11 p.m. ET
Match preview: Woods, Stricker and Mickelson have gotten the most pub this week, but Furyk might be playing as well as anyone, posting a 2-1-1 record so far. This should be a fun one to watch for the dichotomy in styles between the two players; expect Furyk to play his normal fairway-and-greens golf, while Cabrera will be banging the ball all over the yard.

The reigning Masters champion can get streaky hot at any time, but it's only happened for him in short spurts so far this week. Simply put, Furyk is playing better here at Harding Park.

Advantage: Furyk
-- Jason Sobel
Hole 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 T
Int'l
U.S.