All But Over
Saturday, the U.S. squad won four of five Four-Ball matches to extend their lead over the Internationals to 14-6 in the 4th biennial Presidents Cup at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va.
The defending champions weren't able to conjure up the better-ball magic they used to get back into the match Friday morning. A day prior, the Internationals defeated the Americans 4-1 in the Four-Ball format to climb within two points of the home team. But the U.S. was able to win four of five Friday Foursomes, and then repeated the performance Saturday afternoon.
None of the four separate match-play sessions have been close. In addition to the three consecutive 4-1 final results, the Americans shut out the Internationals 5-0 in the opening Foursome matches on Thursday.
There are 12 singles matches to be played on Sunday; the International team must win at least 10 of them to retain the Cup.
Sutton/Furyk vs. Norman/Campbell
After sitting out Friday afternoon, Greg Norman was anxious to contribute on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Internationals, Norman and his partner, Michael Campbell, walked right into a 1-2 American combination.
Hal Sutton birdied the first three holes of the match, while Jim Furyk birdied the final four holes en route to a 6-and-5 American victory.
The U.S. duo carded nine birdies in just 13 holes. This was a stark contrast to Friday's Four-Ball match for Furyk. Paired with David Duval, Furyk found himself on the other end of a 6-and-5 spanking.
'I played poorly yesterday,' said Furyk, who is now 2-8 in team play at both the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. 'My partner came out and made birdies early, so I was able to get comfortable and get my feet under me.'
Duval/Love III vs. Els/Price
Duval and Davis Love teamed together to defeat Nick Price and Carlos Franco in Thursday's Foursome match. However, without Love as a partner, Duval lost both matches he contested in on Friday by 6-and-5 and 6-and-4 scores.
In fact, in both of Friday's matches, Duval was competing against - and losing to - Price. Saturday, Duval was once again paired with Love, while Price joined forced with a winless Ernie Els.
All Square through eight holes, Love birdied the par-3 9th to give the Americans a lead they would never relinquish. Love added another birdie at the 11th to go 2-up, a lead that Duval was able to maintain by matching an Els birdie at the 13th.
The U.S. was conceded a birdie at the 14th to go 3-up, and once again matched an International birdie at the 15th to go dormie-3.
Duval had a chance to end the match on the 16th, but couldn't convert a seven-foot birdie putt. In turn, Price had a chance to extend the match at 16 by sinking a birdie of his own. But this time it was Duval who got the better of Price, as the Zimbabwean lipped out from four feet.
'We both didn't have it at the same time,' said Love, 'but we partnered well together. When he birdied, I didn't. When I birdied, he didn't. But that's what being a good team is all about. We are very comfortable (playing) together.'
The Americans won the match 3-and-2, and, in the process, dropped Els' overall 2000 Presidents Cup record to a startling 0-4. His first three losses came paired with Vijay Singh.
Lehman/Mickelson vs. Weir/Elkington
The International team of Mike Weir and Steve Elkington played near-flawless golf on Saturday, but so too did the American tandem of Tom Lehman and Phil Mickelson.
The U.S. team took a 4-up lead through 10 holes, before the Internationals came alive. Both teams birdied the 11th, and then matched eagles at the par-5 12th. Elkington finally made a dent in the American lead by being the only one of the foursome to record a birdie at the 13th. That birdie, combined with a U.S. bogey at the 15th cut the International's deficit to 2-down with three holes to play.
After halving the 16th to go dormie-2, Mickelson closed the match by drilling his approach shot on the par-4 17th to inside three feet.
Despite playing their final seven holes in 6-under-par, Weir and Elkington fell to Lehman and Mickelson 2-and-1.
Woods/Begay III vs. Goosen/Singh
Perhaps Singh just needed a change in partners. After going 0-3 with Els by his side, the Fijian finally earned his first point of the 2000 Presidents Cup with another South African, Retief Goosen.
All Square through nine holes, the International team took a 1-up lead with a Goosen birdie at the short par-4 10th. They then extended that lead to 2-up with another birdie at the 13th.
Enter Tiger Woods.
Woods answered a Singh eagle at the par-5 14th to stay within two of the International team with four holes remaining. At the par-4 15th, Tiger stuck his approach shot to six feet, and then converted the birdie to cut the American deficit to 1-down.
Woods appeared as if he was going to single-handedly win the match for the U.S. team when he nearly aced the par-3 16th. Still, Woods had to make a six-foot birdie putt to square the match. And, for the first time in recent memory, the world's No. 1 player was unable to make a critical putt. Tiger's birdie effort lacked the steam it needed to fall into the cup. The Internationals escaped with a halve, and then birdied the par-4 17th to win the match 2-and-1.
'Retief really played well down the stretch and I made a couple of putts to help,' said Singh. 'This was important to me. I hadn't won a point all week, so this was worthwhile to me.'
Triplett/Cink vs. Allenby/Franco
Kirk Triplett and Stewart Cink continued their surprising play in their first Presidents Cup by defeating the team of Robert Allenby and Carlos Franco.
The match was All Square through 12 holes, before Triplett sank a 25-foot birdie putt at the 13th to give his team a 1-up lead. From there it was a series of halved holes. The two teams equaled each other over the final six holes to give the Americans a 1-up victory.
'Today was a little less fun like it had been,' said Cink. 'We played less well than we had, but we played well enough to win and that's what counts.' Cink and Triplett are the only two players with perfect records entering Sunday's singles matches. The two first-timers have teamed together on three occasions this week, winning all three.
The International team will have to pull-off a comeback of epic proportions to retain the Cup. At last year's Ryder Cup, the victorious United States team was four points down to the European team entering the 12 singles matches. This year, the Internationals are eight points back.
Sunday Singles Matches
Paul Azinger vs. Robert Allenby
David Duval vs. Nick Price
Loren Roberts vs. Stuart Appleby
Phil Mickelson vs. Mike Weir
Davis Love III vs. Ernie Els
Tom Lehman vs. Steve Elkington
Tiger Woods vs. Vijay Singh
Stewart Cink vs. Greg Norman
Carlos Franco vs. Hal Sutton
Jim Furyk vs. Shigeki Maruyama
Kirk Triplett vs. Michael Campbell
Notah Begay III vs. Retief Goosen
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
No. 1: Dec. 18