x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Perfect Woods takes the glory

Tiger Woods sunk the putt to clinch the Presidents Cup for the United States for the third successive time in Sunday's singles.

Tiger Woods sinks the winning putt at Harding Park.
Tiger Woods sinks the winning putt at Harding Park.

Tiger Woods sunk the putt to clinch the Presidents Cup for the United States for the third successive time in Sunday's singles. The world No 1, who finished the week with a 100 per cent record, rolled in a six-footer on the 13th green to beat South Korea's Yang Yong-eun 6&5 as the Americans triumphed for a sixth time in the eighth edition of the competition.

Leading the Internationals by 12½-9½ going into the final day at a chilly and overcast Harding Park, the hosts needed only five points from the 12 on offer. They built early momentum and ended up winning six matches and halving two to secure victory by 19½ points to 14½. Stewart Cink, Hunter Mahan, Anthony Kim and Sean O'Hair put the first points on the board to leave the US on the brink before Woods took centre stage.

The 14-times major champion ended his week with a flawless 5-0 record, matching the achievements of Mark O'Meara (1996) and Shigeki Maruyama (1998), but was unaware his success against Yang had secured the trophy. "All I knew was I was trying to get my point and I was five up trying to make it six," Woods said. "I didn't look at any boards. I saw we were down six matches at one point so I just kept my head down and tried to extend my own lead.

"We played great as a team and the captain did some great pairings," Woods said of Fred Couples. "He put us together with some guys that we knew we could play really well with, and the guys made putts this week. All in all, I'm very proud of the guys." British Open champion Cink crushed Australian Adam Scott 4&3 in the second match out before Mahan came from two down after four holes to beat Colombian Camilo Villegas 2&1.

Moments later, Kim wrapped up a 5&3 win over Australian Robert Allenby before O'Hair, boosted by four birdies, thumped South African Ernie Els 6&4. Justin Leonard, one down after 17 holes, battled back to square his match with Canada's Mike Weir, leaving the Americans a half-point from winning the trophy for a third successive time. Woods, surprisingly overhauled by Yang at this year's USPGA Championship, made no mistake with his opportunity on the 13th green to end his match against the Korean.

The first full point of the day for the Internationals was secured by Australian Geoff Ogilvy who beat world No 3 Steve Stricker 2&1. "It's a consolation prize but I'm disappointed for the team," Ogilvy said after sealing his win. "Coming in today, we had too much to do and the US team was obviously very motivated and got a lot of red on the board early." The most scintillating singles performance came from diminutive South African Tim Clark who rattled up eight birdies to beat 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson 4&3. Johnson fought hard after the turn, reeling off five birdies in six holes from the 10th but was able to out score his opponent only once.

"I'm five under and I don't even get to see the last three holes," a smiling Johnson said. "He just outplayed me early on." For the second consecutive Presidents Cup, the US beat the Internationals by five points and they will be in confident mood for their Ryder Cup defence next year in Wales. "They are one heck of a team," said former world No 1 Els. "It's hard to beat that kind of team with momentum."

* Reuters