By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
Sam Burns has been fulfilling dreams on the golf course for many years now. Thursday, the former Louisiana state champion, Jack Nicklaus Award winner (best Division-I player), Korn Ferry Tour winner and four-time PGA Tour winner will check off another bucket-list item.
“It’s been everything I dreamed of and more,” Burns said, even before he hit his first official shot as a member of a United States President’s Cup team.
For the first time in his professional career, the former Calvary and LSU star will represent the Red, White and Blue in team competition as the Americans face the Internationals (players not eligible for the European Ryder Cup squad).
“It’s going to be fun,” Burns said.
The four-day event begins Thursday at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., with foursomes (alternate shot) action. Burns will partner with good friend Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world, in a match against Si Woo Kim and Cam Davis.
“Sam and I both play pretty similar,” Scheffler, a fellow President’s Cup rookie, said. “The close friendship would help. We know each other’s games pretty well and know each other’s personalities well.”
Many of this week’s teammates have said Burns, who automatically qualified for the U.S. team with his fourth-place finish on the points list, could be the ultimate match-play guy.
“I’ll take it,” Burns said.
During the 2021-22 PGA Tour season, Burns ranked 10th in strokes gained putting, 24th in driving distance and 26th in greens in regulation.
This won’t be Burns’ first international team competition. He was a member of the 2014 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team and the 2017 U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup Team.
The United States is a massive favorite to win this week as every member of its 12-man team is ranked inside the top 25 in the world. Just three International players — Sungjae Im (19), Tom Kim (22), Hideki Matsuyama (17) – fall into that category.
“We’ve got to come in here and prepare the best that we can,” Burns said. “It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing. I think it’s just we have a mindset of ‘we just want to come here and prepare the best we can and be ready to go out and play our best.’
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, that’s all we can really control.”
Unites States roster
Player (world rank)
Sam Burns (12), Patrick Cantlay (4), Tony Finau (14), Max Homa (16), Billy Horschel (15), Kevin Kisner (25), Collin Morikawa (9), Xander Schauffele (5), Scottie Scheffler (1), Jordan Spieth (13), Justin Thomas (7), Cameron Young (18)
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (67), Corey Conners (30), Cameron Davis (66), Sungjae Im (19), Tom Kim (22), Si Woo Kim (76), K.H. Lee (43), Hideki Matsuyama (17), Sebastian Munoz (63), Taylor Pendrith (109), Mito Pereira (49), Adam Scott (30)
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