Presidents Cup 2019: Friday the 13th lucky enough for the USA as class shows

By Dejan Kalinic 15 December 2019 103
Presidents Cup 2019: Friday the 13th lucky enough for the USA as class shows

Friday the 13th appeared to be shaping as the beginning of the end of the United States' Presidents Cup dominance. Two days later, their class came to the fore.

Trailing the Internationals 4-1 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club following the opening day's four-ball contests, the USA found themselves behind in every foursomes matchup on Friday.

They were facing a staggering 9-1 deficit before the momentum swung and the session was somehow split thanks to clutch putts from Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay.

The USA's 6.5 - 3.5 deficit became 9-5 after Saturday morning's four-ball, but with the talent in their team, they could always look ahead to 12 singles matchups.

Thomas and Rickie Fowler may have coughed up a 5up lead in the foursomes later on Saturday, but the USA were back to within 10-8 and in position for an eighth straight title.

Playing captain Tiger Woods had taken the risk of not playing himself on Saturday despite two wins on the opening two days.

That gamble paid off, the show of faith in his team – and his ability to lead by example on a decisive day – proving crucial.

The USA grabbed a record-equalling eight points in the singles, Woods' 3 and 2 win over Abraham Ancer – the Internationals' best player of the week – setting the tone.

Of the 12 singles matches, the USA had a higher ranked player in 11. The other was world number 24 Matt Kuchar, who halved his match with the 20th-ranked Louis Oosthuizen.

Internationals captain Ernie Els appeared to accept some responsibility for the defeat despite being proud of his team, but his work on the opening days helped set up what would have been a major upset.

His team led 10-8 after his pairings, but the USA's class eventually prevailed in the singles.

The Internationals were left with a sense of what might have been, given the position they worked so hard to put themselves in.

Royal Melbourne was the scene of their only Presidents Cup triumph 21 years ago, and it seemed set to be where the drought would be broken.

But just as Friday the 13th looked set to be unlucky for the USA, it proved to be for the Internationals, Woods and his team showing their class exactly when they needed to.

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Dejan Kalinic

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