Commentary

5 key ingredients for Internationals

Updated: October 4, 2013, 9:44 PM ET
By Farrell Evans | ESPN.com

DUBLIN, Ohio. -- Regardless of what happens Saturday morning to complete the four foursome matches left over from Friday, five things need to happen for the Internationals to have a realistic chance of winning their first Presidents Cup since 1998.

1. Ernie Els, who is playing in his eighth Presidents Cup, needs to improve on his mediocre play in the four-ball format, where his teammate Brendon de Jonge single-handedly kept them competitive with eight birdies in a 1 down loss to Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth on Thursday.

The 43-year-old South African was much more helpful to de Jonge on Friday in the foursomes format with a 4 and 3 victory over Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan. The four-time major champion now has seven wins in foursomes, the most in Presidents Cup history.

But on Saturday, where both teams will play five four-ball matches and five foursomes matches, Els needs to play well on his own ball to give his team a chance to win a point.

2. An International pairing has to again beat the dynamic U.S. duo of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, who won 4 and 3 on Friday over Jason Day and Graham DeLaet. To take a point on Saturday from the expected Mickelson/Bradley group, who are now 4-1 in their five appearances together between the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, would be monumental for the Internationals.

3. Nick Price will likely sit his two weakest players so far this week, Richard Sterne and Branden Grace, in the Saturday morning four-balls. But by rule, each will have to play in the afternoon matches. The South Africans need to get at least a halve for their team. Price might consider splitting them up. For all their familiarity with each other, they haven't played well this week.

4. On Day 3 in the 2011 matches in Australia, the United States went 4 and 1 in the foursomes. It was their largest victory margin in any of the five sessions that week. The Americans had a five-point lead going into the afternoon four-balls. It was insurmountable. The Internationals can't allow a similar result to occur on Saturday.

In this 10th Presidents Cup, the four-balls will played before the foursomes in the Saturday session. In Australia, the Internationals won the four-balls session 3 and 2.

5. Beat Tiger Woods. The 14-time major champion will likely be paired again with Matt Kuchar in both sessions Saturday. If the Internationals can manage a full point in one of those matches, it would be a big morale boost for their efforts.

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