Despite a spirited singles display by the international team, the USA held on to win The Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Ohio by 18.5 points to 15.5. It was an eighth victory for the American side in just 10 tries.
After rain delays pushed the final foursomes over to Sunday, the US took a commanding lead of 14-8 heading into the final round of singles. They needed just four points to secure the Cup.
It looked like being a procession to victory, but the international players fought hard, right to the finish line.
Ernie Els got the scoreboard ticking over for Nick Price’s international side by taking out fellow veteran Steve Stricker by a single hole. But then Hunter Mahan beat Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Dufner saw off Brendon de Jonge from Zimbabwe to give the USA 16 of the 18 points they needed, with nine matches still out on the course.
Zach Johnson put the home side within touching distance, taking the 17th point in his match with Branden Grace. But, the fourth and final point was less obvious and US captain Fred Couples began to feel the pressure.
“I must have asked 500 times, ‘How are we getting this fourth point, where is it coming from?'” He said. “You’re nervous. Not for the players because they know what they’re doing. But we needed 18 points and we got them.”
Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth and Bill Haas couldn’t find it as they lost to Jason Day, Graham DeLaet and Adam Scott. Then, Marc Leishman of Australia held off Matt Kuchar to take the score to 17-13.
It was left to Tiger Woods to seal the victory. Playing through back pains, he kept Richard Sterne at arm’s length and, despite making no birdies on the final nine holes, the World Number 1 took his match by one hole and so secured The Presidents Cup for Fred Couples’ men.
“It was a team effort the whole week,” Woods said. “We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.”
The closing matches were completed before more rain moved in, Charl Schwartzel beat Keegan Bradley and Louis Oosthuizen managed a half with Webb Simpson.
In the final game Phil Mickelson lost by one hole to Angel Cabrera in a match strewn with errors.
“There was no intensity,” he said. “We enjoyed the day and we ended up winning, that’s all that matters.”
The USA has now won 8 of the 10 Presidents Cup matches held since 1994. The next Presidents Cup will be played in South Korea in 2015.
The Presidents Cup
Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
Score – USA 18.5, International 15.5
Final day singles scoring
Steve Stricker lost to Ernie Els by one hole
Hunter Mahan beat Hideki Matsuyama by 3&2
Jason Dufner beat Brendon de Jonge by 4&3
Brandt Snedeker lost to Jason Day by 6&4
Jordan Spieth lost to Graham DeLaet by one hole
Bill Haas lost to Adam Scott by 2&1
Zach Johnson beat Branden Grace by 4&2
Matt Kuchar lost to Marc Leishman by one hole
Tiger Woods beat Richard Sterne by one hole
Keegan Bradley lost to Charl Schwartzel by 2&1
Webb Simpson halved with Louis Oosthuizen
Phil Mickelson lost to Angel Cabrera by one hole
Note: Player name on scoring in bold signifies Titleist ball usage
Seve Trophy – Europe takes the victory