Tiger Woods rallies U.S. team to Presidents Cup victory

By Allen Cone
Playing captain Tiger Woods and his U.S. teammates celebrate with the Presidents Cup after they defeated the International team during Sunday at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. Photo by Scott Barbourt/EPA-EFE
Playing captain Tiger Woods and his U.S. teammates celebrate with the Presidents Cup after they defeated the International team during Sunday at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia. Photo by Scott Barbourt/EPA-EFE

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Captain Tiger Woods rallied the U.S. golf team to a 16-14 victory over the International team on fourth day of the Presidents Cup on Sunday in Melbourne.

The Americans, who wore red outfits made famous by Woods when he plays on Sundays -- the last day of golf competition -- overcame a 2-point deficit 10-8 at Royal Melbourne in Australia. It was the United States' eighth consecutive in the tournament conducted every two years.


The U.S. won 19-11 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., in 2017.

"I had faith in all the 11 other players," Woods told reporters. "We love the lineup. We love how we set it up going into the singles.

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"We came here as a team. My teammates and my boys all played well. The captains did an amazing job of just being there for every little detail. I couldn't have done it without all their help and all my boys ... they did it."


At age 43, Woods was the first player-captain in 25 years.

"I've cried in pretty much every Cup we've won," he said. "I've been doing this a long time. Any time you have moments where you're able to do something that is bigger than us as an individual is so much more meaningful and so much more special."

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Woods, playing in his ninth Presidents Cup, went 3-0 as a player in Australia, teaming with Justin Thomas to win his Four-ball and Foursomes matches on Thursday and Friday. He sat out both sessions Saturday.

Woods started and ended the 2019 golf season with victories. He earned his 15th major victory -- the Masters in Augusta, Ga., in April.

In all he has won 82 PGA events.

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Playing leadoff, Woods defeated the Internationals' hottest player, Presidents Cup rookie Abraham Ancer, 3 and 2.

A group of American fans called "We the People" enticed Woods to visit outside the ropes. He did a little dance as he gave them high-fives and took selfies with them.

Woods' Presidents Cup record is 27-15-1, surpassing Phil Mickelson.

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"Wow! Just watched one of the most exciting days in Presidents Cup history," Mickelson posted on Twitter. "What a display of great golf and heart from both teams. Amy and I are so happy for Team USA. Congratulations on a very inspiring victory!"


His victory cut the deficit to one.

Matt Kuchar made a 5-foot birdie putt that gave him a half against Louis Oosthuizen and the clinching 15½ points. He rallied from 3 down.

"It was pretty awesome to play for the greatest player ever," Kuchar said. "To have a chance to make a team captained by the greatest player ever that is also a player on the team, I can't tell you how unique, how cool of a thing that is -- to not only play for him, but alongside him."

The U.S. side hadn't won a singles session since 2009.

Besides Woods, the U.S. team won five other matches Sunday: Patrick Reed over CT Pan 4 and 2; Dustin Johnson over Haotong Li 4 and 3; Patrick Cantlay over Joaquin Niemann 3 and 2; Xander Schauffele over Adam Scott 2 and 1; and Webb Simpson over Byeong-Hun An 2 and 1.

Tied were Tony Finau of the United States against Hideki Matsuyama; American Bryson DeChambeau against Adam Hadwin and Rickie Fowler of the United States against Marc Leishman.


The International team, coached by Ernie Els, has two victories: Sungjae Im over Gary Woodland 4 and 3; and Cameron Smith over Justin Thomas 2 and

"If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building," Els said. "But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.

"I felt we had them right in the headlock and we didn't quite finish it off on that particular time [Friday's foursomes matches]. There's not many times when you get a team like that under the gun like that, under the pump like that."

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