DUBLIN, Ohio — The Presidents Cup ended Sunday the same way it always goes — an American celebration after Tiger Woods delivers the winning point. Woods’ back flared up on him again in the final hour at Muirfield Village. He still managed to hang on to beat Richard Sterne, 1 up, to give the Americans the 18 points they needed to win the Presidents Cup for the fifth consecutive time. It was the third straight Presidents Cup that Woods won the cup-clinching match — all three with Fred Couples as the captain.
“It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, who went 4-1 for the best record of any player. “We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.” The biggest surprise was not so much the outcome, but that the matches ended without going to Monday.
Rain interrupted the matches all week, and the fourth session of foursomes had to be completed Sunday morning. That might have been the end of International hopes. The Americans were 3 down in two matches and turned them into a win and a halve, giving them a 14-8 lead going into the final round. The Americans needed only to win four of the 12 singles matches to keep the gold trophy.
Hunter Mahan quickly dispatched of Hideki Matsuyama. Jason Dufner never trailed in beating Brendon de Jonge. Zach Johnson overwhelmed Branden Grace, keeping the South African winless for the week. That gave the Americans 17 points and assured them a tie. But it took more than an hour for them to clinch the cup thanks to a spirited effort by Nick Price’s team.
Graham DeLaet, who earlier Sunday chipped in from in front of the 18th green to help earn a half-point, holed out from a bunker on the 18th for birdie to give him a 1-up win over 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. Ernie Els made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and won his match when Steve Strickermissed birdie putts on the last two holes.
Adam Scott and Jason Day won their matches, and Marc Leishman gave the Internationals yet another point when he made a 15-foot par from the back of the 18th green. It figured to come down to Woods, who won despite not making a single birdie on the back nine.
He grabbed his back after trying to hit fairway metal into the par-5 15th green, though Sterne missed an 8-foot birdie putt to halve the hole. The match turned on the par-3 16th, when Sterne’s tee shot cleared the water, the green and nearly the sky boxes. He made bogey as Woods went 1-up.
Woods chipped to a foot for par on the 17th. On the final hole, Sterne left himself a 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th that never came close. Woods rolled his 30-foot attempt to tap-in range, and Sterne conceded. All that was left was the final score, though the Americans were assured of winning by at least three points for the fifth straight year. The Internationals have only won this event once since it began in 1994, and that was 15 years ago in Australia.
article by Associated Press via latimes.com