x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

'We won fair and square' says Couples

Losing captain, Greg Norman, said the US team's familiarity with foursomes player gave them an advantage in the Presidents Cup.

Fred Couples, holding the trophy, and his American team pose with the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images
Fred Couples, holding the trophy, and his American team pose with the Presidents Cup in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

MELBOURNE // The United States team won the Presidents Cup because they were the better team, not because they were more accustomed to the format, Fred Couples, their captain, said after the Americans' fourth successive victory in the biennial golf tournament yesterday.

The captain of the Internationals team, Greg Norman, said the tournament should allow the hosts to pick the format after his players were routed in the foursomes matches.

The Americans, who also play foursomes against the Europeans in the Ryder Cup, won eight of the 11 foursomes en route to their winning total of 19-15

The Internationals held their own in the four-ball and singles formats, but it was not enough.

Norman, who lost his second successive Presidents Cup to the Americans, also called for an extra two captain's picks for the Internationals, saying they were at a disadvantage being spread across the globe and playing a number of different tours.

His team is made up of players from outside the US and Europe.

Couples suggested Norman's comments were sour grapes.

"We won this week because we were better players, and I think we have a little motivation, and we teamed well and we won," he said.

"I don't know what they would have said if they would have won.

"Everything would have been fair. But we won, and you know, I'm not saying anything bad to Greg. I'm just saying, I don't get that. They had 10 players, they got two picks. We got 10 players and two picks and we won."

Norman also said he was delighted with the way his team "stepped up to the plate" yesterday to win six of the 12 singles matches.

"The Presidents Cup is the winner here. I'm very proud of my boys," Norman said. "My team can hold their heads up extremely high."

Couples placed four of his seasoned campaigners in the final singles matches and it proved a masterstroke as they notched four wins to secure victory after the Internationals made an early charge.

The US team was led by the 41-year-old Jim Furyk, who beat Ernie Els yesterday to post a perfect 5-0 record for the tournament, only the fourth to manage the feat in the event's history.

It was the Americans' seventh win from nine editions of the tournament but only their first outside North America and was clinched at the venue of their sole loss in 1998.

"I give the guys a lot of credit, because obviously they came a couple weeks before this tournament, and we had a game plan to come play as a team, win as a team, and that's what we did," Couples said.

"The best thing I feel great about is our team won in Australia on away soil, which is a demanding task."