The United States won the Presidents Cup for the eighth time in 10 editions on Sunday, beating the Internationals 18-1/2 to 15-1/2 after Tiger Woods clinched the victory by beating South African Richard Sterne.
With the Americans needing at least 18 points to retain the trophy at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Woods secured the decisive point for the third time in a row in the biennial team competition, safely parring the final hole of his singles match.
The world number one, despite suffering from back pain over his last five holes, came from one down after eight to seal a one-up win that gave the U.S. an unassailable lead with two singles matches still to finish.
“It feels good. It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, who won four of his five matches, the best on either team. “We really played well, and gave ourselves a really nice lead going into the singles.
“And it was a tough day, tough conditions, rain, wind. It was tough all around. It was a long week but it was worth it,” he added, referring to the lengthy weather delays over the first three days which led to a backlog of matches. “We did it.”
The U.S. had needed only four points from Sunday’s 12 singles encounters to keep the Cup, having established a lead of 14-8 earlier in the day after dominating the rain-delayed final foursomes session.
However, they had to work a lot harder than expected as the Internationals mounted a gutsy fightback, winning seven-and-a-half of the matches on a saturated layout amid sporadic rain showers and occasional sunshine.
The International fightback gave the Americans some brief moments of anxiety but they managed to avoid a repeat of last year’s collapse at the Ryder Cup.
“These guys gave their hearts and souls this week,” Internationals captain Nick Price said of his team.
The U.S. team bristled with six players ranked in the world’s top 10 while the Internationals, whose only Presidents Cup victory came in 1998, had eight players from outside the top 25.
“We had a tall order this afternoon, nine-and-a-half points (to win) against a team of