Saturday’s fourball session will see captain Tiger Woods take a breather as he looks to stay fresh in his bid to haul in the Internationals.
Woods has been one of the standout players in the 2019 event combining well with Justin Thomas for two wins in a row but the 43-year-old resisted the urge to go again – and risk fatigue or injury – instead sticking with his pre-tournament plans.
‘I know I’ll be stressed out watching these guys play,’ he said.
‘Yeah, that was kind of the game plan,’ Woods said when opening up on his decision to rest and partner Thomas with Rickie Fowler.
‘It would be hard for me to go all the sessions. ‘I’ve been fortunate enough to go out there with JT, and we’ve gotten two points. JT played great, and Rickie played awesome this afternoon. They have had success before, and send them back out.’
Fowler earned a half point in Friday’s foursomes alongside Gary Woodland against Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im and now links up with Thomas once more. The pair are friends, live in the same area and earned the USA 2.5 points last time out at Liberty National.
They meet home hero Marc Leishman and Haotong Li on Friday with the latter making his debut after sitting out both of the opening two days with Els sticking to his own pre-contest thoughts.
Part of the South African’s plan to help the Internationals to their first win since 1998 was to give Louis Oosthuizen a break.
The World No 20 has been something of a talisman – winning matches with Abraham Ancer and Adam Scott – for Els but has a history of injury niggles which may be the reason for giving the 2010 Open champion the morning off.
Scott, though, does not have the morning off as he goes out with Byeong-hun An against Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar.
Impressive rookies Abraham Ancer anf Sungjae Im join forces for a match against Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who came good on Friday with a win on the last hole.
Woods’ biggest gamble is sending 0-2 combination Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed out again. They meet C.T. Pan and Hideki Matsuyama in a replay of Thursday’s tussle which saw the Internationals earn a 1UP win.
Saturday fourballs (SA times):
Marc Leishman/Li Haotong vs Justin Thomas/Rickie Fowler – 22:02
Im Sung-jae/Abraham Ancer vs Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay – 22:16
Hideki Matsuyama/CT Pan vs Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed – 22:30
Adam Scott/An Byeong-hun vs Matt Kuchar/Tony Finau – 22:44
Not playing: Louis Oosthuizen, Cameron Smith, Adam Hadwin, Joaquin Niemann (Internationals); Tiger Woods, Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau (USA)