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Match recaps: U.S. clinches Presidents Cup, 19-11

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 1, 2017, 10:15 pm

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – What looked like a foregone conclusion finally became a reality Sunday, as the United States finished off its dominating performance at Liberty National with a decisive, 19-11 victory over the Internationals. 

Daniel Berger delivered the clinching point for the Americans, who improved to 10-1-1 in the biennial event. 

Here are the match-by-match results from Liberty National:


Sunday singles: Internationals 7 1/2, U.S. 4 1/2

Overall: U.S. 19, Internationals 11

Kevin Chappell (U.S.) vs. Marc Leishman (International), halved: Leishman had a chance to earn a full point for the International side, but he three-putted from the back fringe on 17 for bogey. On 18, he was fortunate to even escape with a halve, after Chappell narrowly missed his birdie putt. 

Jason Day (International) def. Charley Hoffman (U.S.), 2 and 1: It’s been a rough go the past two Presidents Cups for Day, but he won three consecutive holes to begin the back nine to hold off Hoffman. The former world No. 1 is now just 1-7-2 in his last two cup appearances. 

Hideki Matsuyama (International) def. Justin Thomas (U.S.), 3 and 1: The Japanese star looked lost for much of these matches, but he managed to pull it all together against the presumptive PGA Tour Player of the Year. Racking up seven birdies and an eagle, he managed to eek past Thomas (who made eight birdies of his own) to give the Internationals a win when the outcome was already secured. Together, they combined for 15 birdies and an eagle.

Daniel Berger (U.S.) def. Si Woo Kim (International), 2 and 1: One of the Americans’ six rookies, Berger traded birdies and fist pumps with The Players champion until his halve on the 15th hole clinched the cup for the U.S.    

Charl Schwartzel (International) def. Matt Kuchar (U.S.), 1 up: Kuchar actually did well to extend this match to 18, after he was 4 down with seven holes to play. But Schwartzel’s par on the last was enough to earn the full point. Kuchar is now just 1-7 in singles matches.

Adam Scott (International) def. Brooks Koepka (U.S.), 3 and 2: Trying to avoid a winless cup, Scott won four holes in a row on the back nine – three with concessions from Koepka – to knock off the U.S. Open champion. 

Louis Oosthuizen (International) def. Patrick Reed (U.S.), 1 up: Tasked with taking on Captain America, the sweet-swinging South African won the 17th with a birdie, then earned a conceded birdie on 18 to steal the match after Reed sent his tee shot wide left on the closing par 3. 

Dustin Johnson (U.S.) vs. Branden Grace (International), halved: The world No. 1 surrendered a late lead, but he became the only player on either side to go 4-0-1 this week, going back and forth with the South African until they halved the 18th hole with a par.  

Jhonattan Vegas (International) def. Jordan Spieth (U.S.), 2 and 1: And it could have been worse. Vegas opened up a 4-up lead with four to play, but Spieth did well just to reach the 17th. Though he’s proven to be a formidable team player, remarkably, Spieth dropped to 0-5 in Ryder/President Cup singles. 

Rickie Fowler (U.S.) def. Emiliano Grillo (International), 6 and 4: One of the lone bright spots on an otherwise rough day for the Americans, Fowler watched his lead swell with wins on four of the first five holes on the back nine. It was the U.S. team’s most convincing victory Sunday.   

Kevin Kisner (U.S.) vs. Anirban Lahiri (International), halved: Indicative of his team’s day, Kisner coughed up the lead with bogeys on the last two holes to squander the opportunity for a full point. 


Saturday fourballs: U.S. 3, Internationals 1

Overall: U.S. 14 1/2, Internationals 3 1/2

MATCH 1: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Louis Oosthuizen (Internationals), 2 and 1: Oosthuizen almost single-handedly kept the Internationals alive in a match where neither team ever held more than a two-hole lead, but Spieth's 10-foot birdie on the 17th concluded the match. Spieth and Reed were 2-0-0 on the day to improve their career Presidents Cup/Ryder Cup record to 8-1-3.

MATCH 2: Daniel Berger-Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Jhonattan Vegas-Hideki Matsuyama (Internationals), 3 and 2: The Internationals won the second, third and fourth holes, then didn't win another hole. Berger became the last U.S. player to win a match this week. Matsuyama dropped to 0-2-1 this week and 3-6-3 in his Presidents Cup career.

MATCH 3: Anirban Lahiri-Si Woo Kim (Internationals) def. Kevin Chappell-Charlie Hoffman (U.S.), 1 up: Hoffman chipped in for birdie on the 17th hole, triggering a wild celebration, but Lahiri birdied on top of him to keep the Internationals 1 up going to the 18th, where the U.S. conceded Lahiri's par putt for a halve of the hole. It was Lahiri's first career Presidents Cup win after four losses.

MATCH 4: Brooks Koepka-Dustin Johnson (U.S.) def. Marc Leishman-Branden Grace (Internationals), 3 and 2: In a match where the U.S. never trailed, DJ improved his record to 4-0. He is looking to become only the sixth player to go 5-0-0 in a Presidents Cup.

Saturday foursomes: U.S. 3 1/2, Internationals 1/2

Overall: U.S. 11 1/2, Internationals 2 1/2

MATCH 1: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Marc Leishman (Internationals), 4 and 3: Leishman pulled his opening tee shot into the water, and things didn't get much better from there for the Aussie duo. While the match was all square through 11 holes, Spieth and Reed closed things out in style with four straight birdies to put the first point of the day on the board. The Americans are now 7-1-3 when paired together, while Day's individual record in Presidents Cup foursomes drops to 0-5-3.

MATCH 2: Matt Kuchar-Dustin Johnson (U.S.) def. Adam Hadwin-Adam Scott (Internationals), 4 and 3: The U.S. team won the first hole with a par and that set the tone for the morning session. Kuchar and DJ made only three birdies over the span of 15 holes but it was easily enough to secure a comfortable victory. They led, 4 up, at the turn and were never threatened. This American tandem won both of their foursomes matches this week and DJ is now 5-0-1 in the format in this competition.

MATCH 3: Kevin Kisner-Phil Mickelson (U.S.) def. Emiliano Grillo-Jhonattan Vegas (Internationals), 2 and 1: The Americans won the first hole but it was close throughout. It was all square until Grillo and Vegas bogeyed the par-4 14th. The U.S. team kept that lead through 16 holes and sealed the match with a big Kisner putt at the 17th. Mickelson and Kisner at now 2-0-1 this week.

MATCH 4: Justin Thomas-Rickie Fowler (U.S.) vs. Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (Internationals), halved: The only morning foursomes match that reached the 18th hole. Thomas and Fowler handed Grace and Oosthuizen their first Presidents Cup loss as a team on Friday. On Saturday, the International side led by as much as 2 up and the U.S. by as much as 1 up, and it was all square for the final seven holes. With the away team in for par on the last, Thomas had 5 feet to halve the match and got his putt to circle in.


Friday fourballs: U.S. 4 1/2, Internationals 1/2

Overall: U.S. 8, Internationals 2

MATCH 1: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) vs. Hideki Matsuyama-Adam Hadwin (Internationals), halved:  Trailing 2 down on the back nine, the Americans’ most successful staged a late rally to steal a half point from the struggling Matsuyama and rookie Hadwin. Spieth and Reed, who have now gone 6-1-3 as a team, made back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 and had opportunities on the last two holes to earn the full point, including Spieth’s 20-footer on 18 that spun around the cup. 

MATCH 2: Justin Thomas-Rickie Fowler (U.S.) def. Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (Internationals), 3 and 2: Quickly turning into the Americans’ best duo, Thomas and Fowler handed Oosthuizen and Grace their first loss in team play (5-1). They played 7 under as a team, and Thomas helped put away the Internationals with some dazzling short-game shots, first a touchy up and down on 12, a holed bunker shot on 14 and then an 8-foot birdie putt on 15. 

MATCH 3: Phil Mickelson-Kevin Kisner (U.S.) def. Jason Day-Marc Leishman (Internationals), 1 up: Going head-to-head for the second straight day, Mickelson didn’t miss on the final green this time. Burying a 15-footer on the last, the 47-year-old gave the Americans their first lead of the day and a full point after Leishman missed his 10-footer. These two teams squared off Thursday, with Mickelson missed an 8-footer on the last for the win.

MATCH 4: Charley Hoffman-Kevin Chappell (U.S.) def. Charl Schwartzel-Anirban Lahiri (Internationals), 6 and 5: After sitting out the opening foursomes, the American rookies pounced all over the overmatched International squad. Taking a 5-up lead at the turn, Hoffman buried the Internationals with a par on the drivable 12th, after getting up and down from 270 yards. Schwartzel has now been trounced in both of his matches this week, while Lahiri, who was disqualified from playing the third hole Friday after taking a practice shot out of a bunker, is now 0-4 in Presidents Cup play over the past two editions. 

MATCH 5: Dustin Johnson-Brooks Koepka (U.S.) def. Adam Scott-Jhonattan Vegas (Internationals), 3 and 2:  The American bash brothers didn’t play their best for much of the match, but they still erased an early deficit with six birdies and held off Vegas and Scott to earn the final point of the day. Johnson buried a 20-footer for birdie on 15, then pured an iron to 10 feet on 16 to close out the match. It was Scott's 19th match lost, the most in tournament history. 


Thursday foursomes: U.S. 3 1/2, Internationals 1 1/2

Overall: U.S. 3 1/2, Internationals 1 1/2

MATCH 1: Rickie Fowler-Justin Thomas (U.S.) def. Hideki Matsuyama-Charl Schwartzel (INT), 6 and 4:  After falling in an early hole, Fowler and Thomas, the presumptive PGA Tour Player of the Year, won four holes in a six-hole span to take a commanding lead on the International duo, which went out in 4 over. It didn’t get much better on the back nine, as Matsuyama, the International team’s best player, struggled mightily. Thomas won in his team debut.

MATCH 2: Dustin Johnson-Matt Kuchar (U.S.) vs. Adam Scott-Jhonattan Vegas (INT), 1 up: A tight match throughout, Johnson and Kuchar played bogey-free and broke out of a tie after Johnson’s 7-iron to 8 feet on 16 that was conceded for birdie. Johnson then closed out the match with another sweet 7-iron on 18, this one to 20 feet, to earn the full point for the Americans. He improved to 4-0-1 in foursomes. 

MATCH 3: Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed (U.S.) def. Emiliano Grillo-Si Woo Kim (INT), 5 and 4: One of the most successful partnerships of the past few years (6-1-2), Spieth and Reed continued to roll, this time wiping out the all-rookie International team of Grillo and Kim. Spieth and Reed ripped off four straight wins on Nos. 4-7 (needing to play that stretch in only 1 under) and cruised to another team victory, never leading by fewer than two holes. Spieth is now the only player in Presidents Cup history with a 4-0 or better record in foursomes. 

MATCH 4: Louis Oosthuizen-Branden Grace (INT) def. Brooks Koepka-Daniel Berger (U.S.), 3 and 1: The South African duo of Oosthuizen and Grace put the first point on the board for the Internationals. They picked up where they left off in South Korea, taking out the former Florida State teammates with wins on Nos. 13 and 15. Oosthuizen and Grace, now 5-0 together, trailed for only two holes Thursday.  

MATCH 5: Phil Mickelson-Kevin Kisner (U.S.) vs. Jason Day-Marc Leishman (INT), halved: Playing in his 23rd consecutive team event, Mickelson was in charge of guiding rookie Kisner around Liberty National. The Americans squandered a 3-up lead on the front nine, but they battled back late, winning the 17th hole and then looking at a 6-footer to steal a full point over the Australians. Mickelson, however, missed the par putt, and each side received a half point.

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Reed: 'Back still hurts' from carrying Spieth at Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:48 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Friday’s marquee match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who are both undefeated in pool play, just keeps getting better and better.

Following his 1-up victory over Charl Schwartzel on Thursday, Reed was asked what makes Spieth, who defeated HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, so good at match play.

“I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, who teamed with Spieth at Hazeltine National.

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The duo did go 2-1-1 at the 2016 Ryder Cup and have a combined 7-2-2 record in Ryder and Presidents Cup play. Reed went on to explain why Spieth can be such a challenging opponent in match play.

“The biggest thing is he's very consistent. He hits the ball well. He chips the ball well. And he putts it really well,” Reed said. “He's not going to give you holes. You have to go and play some good golf.”

The winner of Friday’s match between Spieth and Reed will advance to the knockout stage.

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Reed vs. Spieth: Someone has to go

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:11 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The introduction of round-robin play to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was a necessary evil. It was needed to stem the tide of early exits by high-profile players, but three days of pool play has also dulled the urgency inherent to match play.

There are exceptions, like Friday’s marquee match between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, which is now a knockout duel with both players going 2-0-0 to begin the week in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

That the stars aligned so perfectly to have America’s most dominant pairing in team play the last few years square off in a winner-take-all match will only add to what promises to be must-see TV.

Sport doesn’t always follow the script, but the pre-match subtext on this one is too good to dismiss. In one corner, professional golf’s “Golden Child” who has used the Match Play to wrest himself out of the early season doldrums, and in the other there’s the game’s lovable bad boy.

Where Spieth is thoughtful and humble to the extreme, Reed can irritate and entertain with equal abandon. Perhaps that’s why they’ve paired so well together for the U.S. side at the Ryder and Presidents Cup, where they are a combined 7-2-2 as a team, although Spieth had another explanation.

“We're so competitive with each other within our own pairing at the Ryder Cup, we want to outdo each other. That's what makes us successful,” Spieth said. “Tiger says it's a phenomenon, it's something that he's not used to seeing in those team events. Normally you're working together, but we want to beat each other every time.”

But if that makes the duo a good team each year for the United States, what makes Friday’s showdown so compelling is a little more nuanced.

The duo has a shared history that stretches all the way back to their junior golf days in Texas and into college, when Reed actually committed to play for Texas as a freshman in high school only to change his mind a year later and commit to Georgia.

That rivalry has spilled over to the professional ranks, with the twosome splitting a pair of playoff bouts with Reed winning the 2013 Wyndham Championship in overtime and Spieth winning in extra holes at the 2015 Valspar Championship.

Consider Friday a rubber match with plenty of intrigue.

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Although the friendship between the two is genuine, there is an edge to the relationship, as evidenced by Reed’s comment last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he was denied relief on the 11th hole on Sunday.

“I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said.

While the line was clearly a joke, Reed added to Friday’s festivities when he was asked what makes Spieth such a good match play opponent. “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, a not-so-subtle suggestion that he carried Spieth at Hazeltine.

For his part, Spieth has opted for a slightly higher road. He explained this week that there have been moments in the Ryder Cup when his European opponents attempted some gamesmanship, which only angered Reed and prompted him to play better.

“I've been very nice to [Reed] this week,” Spieth smiled.

But if the light-hearted banter between the duo has fueled the interest in what is often a relatively quiet day at the Match Play, it’s their status as two of the game’s most gritty competitors that will likely lead to the rarest of happenings in sport – an event that exceeds expectations.

Both have been solid this week, with Speith winning his first two matches without playing the 18th hole and Reed surviving a late rally from Charl Schwartzel on Thursday with an approach at the 18th hole that left him a tap-in birdie to remain unbeaten.

They may go about it different ways, but both possess the rare ability to play their best golf on command.

“I’m glad the world gets to see this because it will be special,” said Josh Gregory, Reed’s college coach who still works with the world No. 23. “You have two players who want the ball and they aren’t afraid of anything. Patrick lives for this moment.”

 Where Reed seems to feed off raw emotion and the energy of a head-to-head duel, Spieth appears to take a more analytical approach to match play. Although he admits to not having his best game this week, he’s found a way to win matches, which is no surprise to John Fields, Spieth’s coach at Texas.

“Jordan gave us a tutorial before the NCAA Championship, we picked his brain on his thoughts on match play and how he competed. It’s one of those secret recipes that someone gives you,” Fields said. “When he was a junior golfer he came up with this recipe.”

Whatever the secret sauce, it will be tested on Friday when two of the game’s most fiery competitors will prove why match play can be the most entertaining format when the stars align like they have this week.

It was a sign of how compelling the match promises to be that when asked if he had any interest in the Spieth-Reed bout, Rory McIlroy smiled widely, “I have a lot of interest in that. Hopefully I get done early, I can watch it. Penalty drops everywhere.”

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Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

Hey, whatever works.

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Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

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Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”