Woods leads U.S. to Presidents Cup victory
Alex Miceli recaps the Presidents Cup, explains why Fred Couples was a good captain and offers insight into the 2016 Olympics.
SAN FRANCISCO – Tiger Woods had a perfect week, and the Americans stayed unbeaten at home in the Presidents Cup.
Woods delivered the clinching point Sunday with a 6-and-5 victory over Y.E. Yang, a tiny token of revenge from losing the PGA Championship. Phil Mickelson wrapped up another anticlimactic finish by beating Retief Goosen, and the celebration was on.
The Americans won, 19 1/2 - 14 1/2, extending their domination in the Presidents Cup.
The International team tried all week to keep it close. It had no chance in the final round of singles.
British Open champion Stewart Cink put the first point on the board by overwhelming Adam Scott, and Sean O’Hair and Anthony Kim followed with big victories of their own.
Woods went 5-0 for the week, joining Mark O’Meara and Shigeki Maruyama as the only players to win all five matches in the Presidents Cup. Woods now has 18 victories, the most of any player in this event.
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“Did it really?” Woods said, when told by NBC Sports that his point clinched the cup. “I was trying to get my point. I was 5 up trying to make it 6. I didn’t look at any boards. I just kept my head down.”
U.S. captain Fred Couples was the first to greet Woods with a hug.
When he was appointed captain, Couples called Woods and jokingly asked for a big favor: Make the team so Couples wouldn’t have to waste a captain’s pick on him. What he didn’t tell Woods were the expectations Couples had for him at Harding Park.
“I needed him – this is going to sound stupid – to go 5-0,” Couples said.
Woods won all four of his team matches with Steve Stricker, who lost to Geoff Ogilvy in singles. After falling behind early in singles, Woods poured in putts and never gave Yang a chance. It was quite a change from August at Hazeltine, where Yang shocked the golfing world by rallying from two shots behind in the final round to beat Woods in the PGA Championship.
This wasn’t quite the same.
Presidents Cup: Sunday singles
Team USA retained the Presidents Cup at Harding Park in San Francisco.
“He got me there, and I figured I could get him here,” Woods said. “It certainly was not exactly the same atmosphere, but then it still was an important point.”
Mickelson might have played the best for the Americans, carrying along three partners in the team matches and hanging on to beat Goosen. He went 4-0-1 for the week, and revealed after his match that his wife, Amy, had joined him on the weekend. She has been recovering from breast cancer, although she did not come out to Harding Park.
“What a wonderful surprise,” Mickelson said. “It’s the first time she hasn’t been with me. It’s been difficult on both of us.”
Among the few bright spots for the International team on a cold autumn afternoon was Tim Clark, who made eight birdies in 15 holes for a 4-and-3 victory over Zach Johnson.
The Americans are 5-0 on home soil in the Presidents Cup, winning the previous four times at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in northern Virginia.
With the outcome rarely in doubt, there was never much tension in the frigid, autumn air south off Lake Merced. Hunter Mahan was stunned when Camilo Villegas made him putt a 2-footer in the middle of their match. Mahan went on to a 2-and-1 victory, making Villegas the only player to get shut out at Harding Park.
The classy moment came at the end, when Vijay Singh conceded a 7-foot birdie putt to U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover. Their match ended in a draw, assuring that Glover would not get blanked for the week. He had been 0-3 until that match.
Results from the Presidents Cup, played Oct. 8-11 at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco:
Day 4: U.S. 19 1/2, International 14 1/2
Hunter Mahan (U.S.) def. Camilo Villegas, 2 and 1
Stewart Cink (U.S.) def. Adam Scott, 4 and 3
Mike Weir (Int.) vs. Justin Leonard, halved
Anthony Kim (U.S.) def. Robert Allenby, 5 and 3
Geoff Ogilvy (Int.) def. Steve Stricker, 2 and 1
Sean O’Hair (U.S.) def. Ernie Els, 6 and 4
Ryo Ishikawa (Int.) def. Kenny Perry, 2 and 1
Tim Clark (Int.) def. Zach Johnson, 4 and 3
Tiger Woods (U.S.) def. Y.E. Yang, 6 and 5
Vijay Singh (Int.) vs. Lucas Glover, halved
Phil Mickelson (U.S.) def. Retief Goosen, 2 and 1
Angel Cabrera (Int.) def. Jim Furyk, 4 and 3
• • •
Day 3: U.S. 12 1/2, International 9 1/2
Anthony Kim-Jim Furyk (U.S.) def. Angel Cabrera-Adam Scott, 2 up
Geoff Ogilvy-Robert Allenby (Int.) def. Stewart Cink-Lucas Glover, 2 and 1
Ernie Els-Mike Weir (Int.) def. Zach Johnson-Justin Leonard, 5 and 3
Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker (U.S.) def. Ryo Ishikawa-Y.E. Yang, 4 and 2
Vijay Singh-Tim Clark (Int.) vs. Phil Mickelson-Sean O’Hair, halved
Phil Mickelson-Sean O’Hair (U.S.) def. Retief Goosen-Camilo Villegas, 5 and 3
Justin Leonard-Jim Furyk (U.S.) def. Ernie Els-Adam Scott, 4 and 2
Robert Allenby-Vijay Singh (Int.) vs. Stewart Cink-Hunter Mahan, halved
Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker (U.S.) def. Mike Weir-Tim Clark, 1 up
Y.E. Yang-Ryo Ishikawa (Int.) vs. Kenny Perry-Zach Johnson, 3 and 2
• • •
Day 2: U.S. 6 1/2, International 5 1/2
Phil Mickelson-Justin Leonard (U.S.) def. Retief Goosen-Adam Scott, 3 and 2
Ernie Els-Mike Weir (Int.) def. Jim Furyk-Anthony Kim, 2 up
Ryo Ishikawa-Y.E. Yang (Int.) def. Kenny Perry-Sean O’Hair, 4 and 3
Vijay Singh-Tim Clark (Int.) def. Lucas Glover-Stewart Cink, 1 up
Zach Johnson-Hunter Mahan (U.S.) def. Robert Allenby-Camilo Villegas, 2 and 1
Steve Stricker-Tiger Woods (U.S.) def. Geoff Ogilvy-Angel Cabrera, 5 and 3
• • •
Day 1: U.S. 3 1/2, International 2 1/2
Anthony Kim-Phil Mickelson (U.S.) def. Mike Weir-Tim Clark, 3 and 2
Adam Scott-Ernie Els (Int.) def. Hunter Mahan-Sean O’Hair, 2 and 1
Vijay Singh-Robert Allenby (Int.) def. Lucas Glover-Stewart Cink, 1 up
Kenny Perry-Zach Johnson (U.S.) def. Angel Cabrera-Camilo Villegas, 2 up
Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker (U.S.) def. Geoff Ogilvy-Ryo Ishikawa, 6 and 4
Retief Goosen-Y.E. Yang (Int.) vs. Jim Furyk-Justin Leonard, halved
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