Tiger Woods won the opening match of the singles to make Presidents Cup history before watching his side go on to win the cup yet again, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Looking for their first win in 21 years in the competition, the Internationals felt the pressure as the board was covered in red early on. Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson raced out to early leads as the dominoes fell into place.
Ernie Els was helpless as he watched Hideki Matsuyama let a 4UP lead with eight to play over Tony Finau in match two disappear as the American bagged a half.
That combined with Woods moving past Phil Mickelson as the player with the most Presidents Cup wins (27) and Johnson and Reed cruising home was just the start of the red wave.
Els needed to get points from Joaquin Niemann, Adam Scott, Ben An and Sungjae Im in the middle of the matches but only Im, the PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year, managed to put some yellow on the board.
The Internationals, who led after every sesssion, were on track to tie the match at 15-15 with Cameron Smith surprisingly ahead of Justin Thomas and Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman both ahead in the final two matches.
While Smith rather admirably held on for a point, Oosthuizen ran out of steam and surrendered a 3UP lead with nine to play over Matt Kuchar with Leishman and Rickie Fowler involved in a back and forth clash.
Kuchar’s win on the 17th hole saw the United States retain the cup even if his South African opponent was able to tie the match on the last. The same result in the bottom match saw the final score 16-14 in favour of Woods’ men.
‘I trusted all my 11 guys. I trusted them implicitly. I told them from the very get go. They went out there and got the points we needed. We fought,’ said Woods, who was an impressive pick with a 3-0 record in Australia this week.
‘Even the points we lost, we were making them earn every one of them, and this Cup wasn’t going to be given to us. We had to go earn it, and we did.’
International team 4 United States team 8
Abraham Ancer lost to Tiger Woods 3 and 2
Hideki Matsuyama tied with Tony Finau
CT Pan lost to Patrick Reed 4 and 2
Li Haotong lost to Dustin Johnson 4 and 3
Adam Hadwin tied with Bryson DeChambeau
Sungjae Im beat Gary Woodland 4 and 3
Joaquin Niemann lost to Patrick Cantlay 3 and 2
Adam Scott lost to Xander Schauffele 2 and 1
Byeong-hun An lost to Webb Simpson 2 and 1
Cameron Smith beat Justin Thomas 2 and 1
Louis Oosthuizen tied with Matt Kuchar
Marc Leishman tied with Rickie Fowler