The Lake Mannassas Massacre

RSS

You can't always judge the competitiveness of an event by the final score. Sometimes the end result belies the true competition.
 
Not in the case of the 4th biennial Presidents Cup.
 
The United States regained the Cup they lost last two years ago in Australia by routing the International team 21 to 10 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Va. And, in this case, the Americans were as dominant as the score would indicate.
 
Needing just 2 points on Sunday, the U.S. won eight of the 12 singles matches to avenge their 20 to 11 defeat two years ago. The U.S. led 5-0 following Thursday's Foursome matches, and then led 10-5 after both Foursomes and Four-Ball were contested on Friday. The Americans then increased their overall lead to 14-6 after winning four of five Four-Ball matches on Saturday.
 
Sunday, The Internationals were unable to pull off an American-esque comeback. Last year at Brookline, Mass., the U.S. overcame a four-point deficit on the final day to win the Ryder Cup. They did so by sending out their top-form players first on Sunday to put some pressure on the Europeans. They did just that. The U.S. won the first six matches en route to a one-point triumph.
 
International captain Peter Thomson ignored the strategy used by Ben Crenshaw in '99. Instead, three of the first five players representing the International team in singles play had a combined 0-9 record.
 
Needless to say, the 4th biennial Presidents Cup was officially decided in those first five matches.
 
The Americans won three of the first five matches to clinch the cup. Appropriately enough, the deciding match featured Davis Love III and Ernie Els. Love defeated the world's No.2-ranked player 4-and-3. Love finished the event with a perfect 4-0 record. Els ended with a dismal 0-5 mark.
 
For the record, Robert Allenby (1-3 for the week) defeated Paul Azinger (1-2) 2-and-1. David Duval (3-2) defeated Nick Price (2-3) 2-and-1. Duval and Price faced each other in all five 2000 Presidents Cup matches.
 
Loren Roberts (2-1) defeated Stuart Appleby (0-3) 3-and-2. In the battle of lefties, Mike Weir (3-2) defeated Phil Mickelson (3-2) 4-and-3. Weir was the only International player to produce a winning record this week.
 
Davis Love III (4-0) defeated Ernie Els (0-5) 4-and-3. Steve Elkington (2-2) defeated Tom Lehman (3-2) 1-up. Elkington was 5-up through 13 holes, but bogeyed holes 14-17 to lead by just one with one to play. Both men parred the home hole to give the Aussie the win.
 
Tiger Woods (3-2) defeated Vijay Singh (1-4) 2-and-1. This was, by far, the most intriguing match of the day. Singh teamed with Retief Goosen to better Woods and Notah Begay in Saturday's Four-Ball match. In fact, Woods and Singh faced each other in four of the five matches.
 
There's always been an unspoken rivalry between this year's Masters champion and the man who won the three other majors in 2000, and Sunday's match finally gave that rivalry a voice.
 
There was more tension in the air surrounding Tiger and Vijay than in a Middle East peace talk. Most of that stemmed, not from harsh words, but from a simple question stitched in the back of a caddie's hat.
 
Vijay's looper, former professional golfer Paul Tesori, had 'Tiger Who?' etched on the back of his form-fitting cap.
 
'Tiger Who?' is not the question. The question is - Vijay, Why?
 
The match was closely contested throughout, with few putts conceded by either man. After making a 35-foot birdie at the 3rd to halve the hole, Singh had a two-foot par putt on the 4th to win the hole and go 1-up. Tiger forced a perplexed Singh to make the putt. The incident was awkward, and almost uncomfortable, yet Woods stood stone-faced, with arms crossed, as Singh tapped in for par.
 
By the turn, Woods had flipped a 1-down deficit into a 1-up advantage. He then made another statement by driving the par-4 10th and converting the eagle putt. Tiger went 2-up at that point, and went on to win his match 2-and-1.
 
Afterwards, when asked if he was intentionally matched with Singh on Sunday, Woods responded: 'Oh yeah. I wanted him and I know he wanted me.'
 
In a more-amicable match, Stewart Cink (4-0) defeated Greg Norman (1-3) 2-and-1. Carlos Franco (2-3) defeated Hal Sutton (3-2) 6-and-5. The Paraguayan's round included a double-eagle at the par-5 12th. Franco holed a 5-iron from 205 yards. He only played 13 holes on Sunday, but did so in an astounding 10-under-par.
 
Jim Furyk (3-1) defeated Shigeki Maruyama (1-2) 5-and-4. Furyk is now 4-0 in singles play in both the Presidents and Ryder Cups. Kirk Triplett (3-0-1) halved his match with fellow Presidents Cup rookie Michael Campbell (1-2-1). This was the only halved match over the 32 that were contested.
 
The 32nd, and final match also went to the Americans, as Begay (3-2) defeated Goosen (2-3) 1-up.
 
'This may be the one of the happiest days of my life,' said U.S. captain Ken Venturi. 'I'm so proud of my team. I couldn't think of 12 finer people.'
 
Said a graceful Thomson: 'We've had this taste of victory not so long ago. I bow to the superiority of the U.S. team. It is a very, very powerful team.'
 
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem officially announced on Sunday that the 5th Presidents Cup will be played Nov. 7-10, 2002, at The Links Golf Course in George, South Africa.
 
That's good news to the International side. They are 1-0 when playing on their own turf, but 0-3 on American soil. All three losses have come at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.