Reversal of Fortune


Here that sound? That's the collective sigh of relief from Presidents Cup officials, television executives and Peter Thomson.
The International team turned the tables on the Americans in Friday's morning Four-ball matches at the 4th biennial Presidents Cup in Prince William County, Va. Shut out after Day One, the defending champions earned a full four points in the better-ball format to cut their overall deficit to 6-4.
Campbell/Goosen vs. Sutton/Azinger
Just as the U.S. did on Thursday, the Internationals got off to a hot start on Friday and never looked back. Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen were the first to go out, the first to come in and the first to record a point for their team.
After sitting out Thursday's matches, Campbell showed no signs of nerves in his maiden Cup appearance. The Kiwi helped his South African partner record six birdies, and also added a solo eagle at the par-5 14th for an easy 4-and-3 victory over his American counterparts.
Any chance the Americans had of earning a point in this match were dissolved at the short par-4 10th. Down three, and with Goosen in the greenside bunker off the tee, Hal Sutton tried to lay-up safely in the fairway, but pushed his tee shot into the right rough.
With no margin for error, Paul Azinger pulled out the driver and went for the green. He found the hazard. The Americans lost the hole, and, in effect, lost the match.
'This is a huge boost to our confidence,' said Campbell. 'Hopefully, this is a good start to the rest of the week.'
Furyk/Duval vs. Price/Norman
Greg Norman and Nick Price have played in a combined 26-career Presidents Cup matches. Yet, until Friday, they had never been paired together.
You might see this twosome again.
Price and Norman carded seven birdies and no bogeys over 13 holes to soundly defeat Jim Furyk and David Duval 6-and-5. Norman made a three-foot birdie putt at the 3rd to take a 1-up lead - a lead they would never relinquish. The Australian atoned for his poor performance on Thursday by sinking nearly every putt he faced inside 15 feet.
By contrast, Furyk and Duval couldn't buy a putt. The tandem combined for only two birdies and one bogey. That bogey came at the par-3 9th. Down three, Furyk hit his tee shot into the water surrounding the left side of the green. Inexplicably, Duval followed suit. The Internationals went 4-up and cruised to victory. The final blow was a four-foot par putt by Norman at the 13th; said his complimentary playing companion: 'Greg played about as well as I've seen him in quite some time.'
Lehman/Roberts vs. Weir/Elkington,
Like his fellow Australian, Steve Elkington helped his partner record seven birdies en route to a 3-and-2 victory over Tom Lehman and Loren Roberts.
Roberts and Lehman played well, particularly Lehman. The 1996 British Open champion birdied three holes in a row to square the match early, but a near hole-out by Weir at the par-4 7th gave the Internationals the lead for good.
After Roberts cut the International's lead to 1-up with a birdie at the 12th, Elkington responded with a birdie of his own at the 13th to reclaim a 2-up advantage. Weir closed out the match with the team's seventh, and final birdie of the day at the par-3 16th.
Woods/Begay III vs. Maruyama/Franco
Tiger Woods and Notah Begay III defeated Ernie Els and Vijay Singh on Thursday. Surely, they could handle Shigeki Maruyama and Carlos Franco.
Thursday, Begay and Woods never trailed. Friday, they never led. Franco converted birdie putts on the 9th and 11th holes to give his team a 2-up lead. Maruyama then contributed with his first birdie of the day at the 14th to go 3-up with four holes to play.
The two teams halved the next two holes to give the Internationals a 3-and-2 win. It was Maruyama's sixth-career Presidents Cup victory. He's never lost a match. On the other hand, it was Franco's first-career Cup win.
Mickelson/Love III vs. Els/Singh
The duo of Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III avoided an American whitewashing by defeating Els and Singh 2-and-1.
The U.S. maintained at least a 2-up lead for the better part of the day, before Singh unexpectedly dropped a 30-foot birdie putt at the 13th to cut the International deficit to 1-down.
With the match in the balance, Mickelson sank a birdie putt at the 15th to reclaim a 2-up lead. Love then sealed the deal with a 25-foot birdie bomb at the 17th to close out the Internationals 2-and-1.
After a very short break, the two teams are back out on the course for five Afternoon Foursome matches.
Friday Afternoon Foursomes
Cink/Triplett vs. Allenby/Appleby
Roberts/Azinger vs. Franco/Maruyama
Woods/Begay III vs. Singh/Els
Sutton/Lehman vs. Campbell/Goosen
Mickelson/Duval vs. Price/Weir