Golf: Internationals face Presidents Cup foursomes test

International golfers faced a familiar hurdle, the alternate-shot foursomes format, as the Presidents Cup began Friday and their trophy hopes could depend on how well they answer the challenge.

The United States led the Internationals 3 1/2-2 1/2 after Thursday's six four-ball matches at Muirfield Village, but the global stars have not won an alternate-shot session since 2005, dropping seven in a row to the Americans.

"There's no secret. It's just about playing some good golf," said Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia.

"Everyone is feeling pretty confident. If we can win the session it's back to level and we might have an advantage and get the momentum going our way."

The US squad leads the biennial rivalry 7-1-1, having won the past four in a row.

Since the lone Internationals win in 1998, the Americans have not been outscored in foursomes and own a 46 1/2-18 1/2 edge in the format, which until this year had been played first in every Cup since 1996.

"It generally has been very hard for us in foursomes," said Internationals captain Nick Price. "It's the hardest format of the lot. You're basically playing half a round.

"The individuals have to get together and spur each other on. I'm not going to lose faith in those teams. They are all ready to take their games to the next level."

Price kept the same duos as he used on day one for the foursomes test after coming within a putt on the 18th green of finishing the opening session all square.

"Even if it's 3-all that would be big for us, just keep us going." said South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion.

Schwartzel teams with 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, a countryman and pal since childhood, against world number one Tiger Woods, a 14-time major winner, and Matt Kuchar, the reigning champion at the Memorial, the US PGA event played at Muirfield Village.

Aussie Jason Day and Canada's Graham DeLaet will meet Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley while Scott and Japan's 21-year-old Hideki Matsuyama will face major winners Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

Matsuyama birdied to win two of the last three holes on Thursday, including a clutch putt at 18 to claim half a point.

"This guy has a huge heart and he is just not scared," Price said.

South Africans Richard Sterne and Branden Grace go against Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth while Aussie Marc Leishman and Argentina's Angel Cabrera take on Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker and South Africa's Ernie Els joins Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge against Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas.