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President's Cup

Tournament Preview

Professional golf is back this week as the US takes on the International team in the President's Cup, being held at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio.

Action kicks off Thursday with six four-ball matches. The format changes to six foursome matches on Friday. Saturday is a "doubleheader" with five four-ball matches in the morning and five foursome matches in the afternoon. The tournament concludes Sunday with 12 singles matches.

All matches are worth one point each, with a total of 34 points possible. There are no playoffs, and each side receives half a point in the event of a tie.

For the uninitiated, a four-ball match means two players from each team compete against each other. Each golfer plays his own ball throughout the round, but the team's score for each hole is the lower score from the two players.

Designed by Jack Nickalus in 1974, Muirfield Village is a par-72, 7,352-yard course. It previously hosted the Ryder Cup in 1987.

Fred Couples is captain of the US team for the third time, assisted by Jay Haas and Davis Love III. The American squad consists of the Top 10 US golfers based on earnings over the past three years: Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Zach Johnson and Captain's picks Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth.

Aussie Nick Price leads the International team, which is composed of Adam Scott, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Louie Oosthuizen, Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace, Graham DeLaet, Richard Sterne, Angel Cabrera and Captain's picks Marc Leishman and Brendon de Jonge.

Players eligible for the Ryder Cup are not eligible for the President's Cup.

The six Thursday matchups bring forth some terrific pairings and are as follows:

 

Time

US

International

11:45 a.m.

Mahan/Snedeker

Day/DeLaet

11:59 p.m.

Haas/Simpson

Scott/Matsuyama

12:13 p.m.

Mickelson/Bradley

Oosthuizen/Schwartzel

12:27 pm.

Stricker/Spieth

Els/de Jonge

12:41 p.m.

Kuchar/Woods

Cabrera/Leishman

12:55 p.m.

Johnson/Dufner

Grace/Sterne

 

The United States has a 7-1-1 record in the nine previous President's Cups, including four straight wins. The International squad's only victory was in 1998 by a 20.5-11.5 margin, and the two teams tied at 17 in 2003.

This is the most fresh faces the International Team has put forward since its debut in 1994. Seven players - Oosthuizen, Matsuyama, Grace, DeLaet, Sterne, Leishman and de Jonge - are all making their President's Cup debuts.

Meanwhile, America's Mickelson continues his streak of being the only player from either side to play in every President's Cup to date.

10/04/13,  Friday

Davis Love III found a new pet, Tiger Woods imitated the Fresh Prince and the American President's Cup team had fun en route to taking a 3-1/2 to 2-1/2 first day lead on the International Team on Thursday in Dublin, Ohio.

Woods and playing partner Matt Kuchar imitated the handshake-high five made famous by Will Smith and rap partner DJ Jazzy Jeff 20 years ago on Smith's TV show every time they won a hole, uncharacteristic frivolity for the normally serious Woods.

Love, the assistant coach, happened upon a friendly squirrel which he carried with himt he rest of the day. The squirrel, dubbed Sammy by the wife of American Steve Stricker, took a turn on Woods' shoulder at one point, put there by playful girlfriend Lindsey Vonn.

The best match of the day gave a full point to the International Team. Australia's Jason Day and Canada's Graham DeLaet were down by three holes to the 1-2 punch of Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker, but rallied to the win when Day drained a 20-foot putt on the 18th hole. Masters champion Adam Scott and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama rallied to a tie on the 18th when the 21-year-old Matsuyama hit his second shot to within two feet of the hole for a birdie.

Woods and Kuchar dominated Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman. Each American recorded the best score on three holes, while Cabrera won none and Leishman just one. Also emerging victorious for Team USA were Stricker and rookie Jordan Spieth, (1 up) and Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner (5&3).

10/05/13, Saturday

Rain seems like it has dampened a lot of great golf this year in the United States, and that trend continued Friday at the President's Cup in Dublin, Ohio.

A rain delay suspended four of the six foursome matches, leaving the United States with the same one-point lead it began the day with over the International Team. Saturday will be a whopper of a busy day, with the other four foursomes scheduled to be completed, followed by five Four-ball matches and five more foursome matches.

The US opened the day with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley pounding Jason Day and Graham DeLaet 4 and 3, with the pair of Americans shooting a ridiculous 30 on the front nine. Not to be outdone, International Team stalwarts Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge defeated Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan 4 and 3.

The four matches to be completed Saturday morning stand as follows:
 
l Adam Scott and Hideki Mastsuyama lead Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson by 4 through 11 holes.

l Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar lead Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzle by 3 through 12.

l Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman are up by 1 on Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker through 13.

l Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth lead Branden Grace and Richard Sterne by 3 through 14.
 

10/06/13, Sunday

No golfer wants to leave a round unfinished due to darkness, but the International Team probably wasn't doing too much complaining on Saturday at the President's Cup at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

Team USA opened up a commanding 11.5-6.5 lead before play was called on account to darkness.

When play resumed from Friday's rain-shortened session, the International Team was able to rally and win two of the four remaining Foursomes to stay one point behind, but Team USA took complete control of the tournament by winning four of the five Four-ball matchups.

The most dominant of those wins was by Bill Haas and Webb Simpson, who whipped Branden Grace and Angel Cabrera 4&3. Also winning their four-balls were Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar. The International Team's only victory came from the 1-2 punch Jason Day and Graham DeLaet.

Only one of the Saturday Foursomes was concluded before darkness settled on the course. Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson defeated Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman 4&3. Haas and Steve Stricker are up by two strokes after 10, while the International Team leads two other matchups. The fifth is tied through 13 holes.

In the history of the President's Cup, no team has ever rallied from more than three points down entering the final day to win.

Tournament Recap

A hug from a living legend and a kiss from his beautiful girlfriend: Not a bad day for Tiger Woods.

Woods scored the winning point as Team USA defeated the International Team 18.5-15.5 to win the President's Cup for the eighth time in 10 tries on Sunday at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio.

Woods' victory was all the more special for Couples, who announced that this President's Cup is his last as Team USA's captain. The 54-year-old Couples has served as coach for the last three President's Cup and previously played in four.

Things got a little dicey for Team USA down the stretch. Leading the International Team 14-8 entering Sunday's Singles, the lead fell to 17-14 before Woods defeated
Richard Sterne 1 up to clinch the championship.

It's the third time in his illustrious career that Woods has clinched the President's Cupfor the US. His two-putt par on No. 18 provided the winning margin. Other US win sduring the final singles round came from Hunter Mahan (3 & 2 over Hideki Matsuyama); Jason Dufner (4 & 3 over Brendon de Jonge) and Zach Johnson (4 & 2 over Branden Grace).

The International Team's victories came from Jason Day (6 & 4 over Brandt Snedeker); Graham DeLaet (1 up over Jordan Spieth); Adam Scott ( 2 & 1 over Bill Haas); Erine Els (1 up over Steve Stricker); Marc Leishman (1 up over Matt Kuchar); Charl Schartzel (2 & 1 over Keegan Bradley) and Angel Cabrera (1 up over Phil Mickelson). Webb Simpson and Louis Oosthuizen halved their match.

The President's Cup will return in 2015 as it makes its debut in Asia at the Jack Nickalus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, South Korea.


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