Easy-going Leonard rebounds at Presidents Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – After handing away a point with a missed 3-footer in the final foursomes match on opening day at the Presidents Cup – leading to a halve instead of what looked to be a U.S. victory – a visibly steamed Justin Leonard knew how he’d handle it. He stormed right into the U.S. team cabin, slammed the door, threw his stuff down and made a beeline directly to the bar.

Once there, a shot was waiting for him, and he pounded it. And another. And then another. A fourth. And then he knocked down a fifth shot, his shot glass pounding back down on the bar.

Next up was a cold beer. He grabbed it and slammed that one right down, too. Several of the players’ wives watched on wondering about the horrifying scene they were watching.

The joke was on them. Leonard had arranged to have Mike “Fluff” Cowan, his partner’s caddie, set up five shots of water at the bar.

As for the beer?

“The beer was real,” said Leonard, “and that tasted really good.”

Asked if anyone fell for his prank, Leonard added, “Yeah, I think a couple of wives thought, ‘He’s really into this.’ ”

Leonard, who can be one serious Texan, played jokester just to let everyone know that he’d be fine, and that he’d be ready to play come Friday, when he paired with Phil Mickelson in the day’s first four-ball match. Ready he was.

Leonard stepped on the first green and made an 11-footer to get the U.S. off to a fast start. And it was Leonard who knocked in a 12-footer for birdie at No. 16 to close a 3-and-2 victory over Retief Goosen and Adam Scott.

Said Mickelson of Leonard, “He showed a lot of heart today, and it was fun having him as my partner.”

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