GAINESVILLE, Virginia, AP
The United States reasserted the dominance it showed on the opening day Saturday, winning four out of five best-ball matches and building an seemingly insurmountable 14 6 lead at the Presidents Cup. With only one day remaining, the United Staets needed 2 1-2 points from Sunday’s final 12 singles matches to take back the title. Hal Sutton led the early effort, and Kirk Triplett and Stewart Cink, the unheralded and undefeated rookies, brought up the rear on a day that demoralized the International team. “We just wanted to make a game of it,” Zimbabwe’s Nick Price said. “Tomorrow is going to be boring for everyone.” It isn’t the largest lead in the short history of this cup. Just two years ago in Australia, the International team holed shots from all over the course to build a 14 1-2-to-5 1-2 lead after team play, and won the Presidents Cup after only two singles matches. It became known as the “Massacre in Melbourne,” and the Americans were criticized for not caring and not trying. The International team must now know how they felt. “It stings,” Price said. “It’s going to be difficult to try our hardest.” American President Bill Clinton came out to watch on another gorgeous day at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. That’s about all the International team could do, too — watch. “The U.S. team has just played superbly,” International captain Peter Thomson said. Sutton and Jim Furyk made nine birdies in 13 holes in the first of five best-ball matches, soundly defeating Australia’s Greg Norman and New Zealand’s Michael Campbell and setting the tone for the day. “I made a little kidding remark before we played,” Sutton said. “We’ll go start the fire, and everybody else throw gasoline on it.” The only match the Americans failed to win had Tiger Woods playing with Notah Begay. And that was the biggest thrill of the day, as Woods matched an eagle putt by Fijian Vijay Singh, birdied the next hole and had a chance to square the match until missing a 2-meter (6-foot) birdie on the 17th. By then, the only victories for the International team were personal. For Singh, paired with South Africa’s Retief Goosen, it was his first point of the matches. Presidents Cup a
nightmare for Els
The Presidents Cup has turned into the nightmare on Lake Manassas for Ernie Els.
The world number two was expected to be the backbone of the International team, but he’s turned out to be the weakest link in a weak team, losing all four of his matches.
South African Els compiled a record of six wins, two halves and two losses in his first two Presidents Cup appearances, but this year he’s been a bust, and for the life of him he doesn’t know why.
“I haven’t played my best but I’ve tried,” Els said. “I played great last week (at the Dunhill Cup). I just didn’t bring my game this week.”
While some may question International captain Peter Thomson’s decision not to sit Els out of a single match, Thomson obviously thought it would be foolish to bench his top-ranked player.
Indeed, Masters champion Vijay Singh of Fiji, who’s ranked ninth in the world, teamed with Els to lose three times, before Thomson finally split them up.
Singh finally got on the board, teaming with another South African, Retief Goosen, to beat Tiger Woods and Notah Begay 2 and 1.
The only International players to have earned as many points as they lost are Goosen, Canadian Mike Weir and Zimbabwe’s Nick Price, all with two wins and two losses.
By contrast, the Americans have three players with perfect records – Stewart Cink, Kirk Triplett and Davis Love (three wins each).
And they have nobody with worse than a 50/50 record. Tiger Woods, with two wins and two losses, is among them.