United States made it eight Presidents Cup victories in a row when recording a 16-14 come-from-behind victory over their International rivals at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.
Tiger Woods’ American line-up had been trailing throughout the 2019 Presidents Cup after losing the opening day’s fourballs 4-1 on Thursday, but all things came together in the Sunday singles to maintain the dominant United States record in the event.
The Ernie Els-captained Internationals held hopes of only a second Presidents Cup victory—21 years after the sole success came at Royal Melbourne in 1998—as they headed into the singles with a two-point lead.
But it wasn’t to be as the Americans won the 12 singles matches 8-4 to seal a two-point victory of their own and make it eight successive Presidents Cup wins.
“We did it together,” said playing-captain Woods, who started the ball rolling by winning the opening singles match 3&2 over Abraham Ancer having led his team into battle.
“We came here as a team. My team-mates and my boys all played well, the captains did an amazing job. It’s been one of the more amazing challenges but all the guys believed in one another and relied on one another.”
Dustin Johnson (4&3 v Li Haotong) and Patrick Reed (4&2 v CT Pan) were next to win their matches to send the United States ahead on the leaderboard before Hideki Matsuyama and Tony Finau tied their contest.
Im Sung-Jae levelled matters again with a 4&3 victory over Gary Woodland and things remained in the balance when Adam Hadwin and Bryson DeChambeau shared the points in the sixth completed match.
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele put the United States back in control with victories over Joaquin Niemann (3&2) and Adam Scott (2&1) respectively, and Webb Simpson ensured the Presidents Cup was retained by the holders when beating An Byeong-hun 2&1.
Cameron Smith kept hopes of the Internationals avoiding defeat alive when reducing the deficit to two points with a 2&1 win over Justin Thomas, but a halved match between Louis Oosthuizen and Matt Kuchar sealed a US victory before Marc Leishman and Rickie Fowler also shook hands for a tie.
Els reflected: “We were right there to the end, just a couple of matches didn’t quite go our way. We’re getting closer. We’ve just got to keep it up.”
Woods and Thomas collected the first point of the event, but the Americans had been behind on the scoreboard from that moment. The 4-1 opening day deficit was followed by a 2.5-2.5 outcome in the Friday foursomes to leave the Internationals three points clear.
The lead was extended to four points after the Internationals edged Saturday morning’s fourballs 2.5-1.5, but the United States ended unbeaten in the afternoon foursomes—taking the honours 3-1 to head into the singles two points down.
And the significant advantage in world rankings told when it boiled down to head-to-heads in the singles as the United States continued their Presidents Cup dominance. They will now try to make it nine in a row at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2021.