Fred Couples, the coolest guy in golf, never really looked that way until he stood on the edge of the 18th fairway Sunday and saw everything going his way.
The Americans needed only one more point to win the Presidents Cup.
And there was Tiger Woods, who has a history of delivering the winning point, in the middle of the fairway at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, where he has won a record five times.
The Presidents Cup ended just the way it always does.
Woods found the green and two-putted for par and a 1-up victory over Richard Sterne, the third straight time he has won the clinching point in the Presidents Cup. The Americans won for the fifth straight time – and eighth time in 10 tries.
The Americans, who finished strong Sunday morning in the rain-delayed foursomes for a 14-8 lead, only needed to win four singles matches. It took longer than anyone expected.
“I must have asked 500 times, ‘How are we getting this fourth point? Where is the fourth point coming from?’ ” said Couples, a three-time winner as U.S. captain.
The final score – United States 181/2, International 151/2 – and whether the matches would beat the rain was really the only suspense on Sunday.
“People say it was close. Jack (Nicklaus) said it was close,” International captain Nick Price said. “You tell me. We were behind the 8-ball all day. If we pulled it off, it would have been miraculous.”
Not that his team of seven rookies didn’t give it a shot. Zach Johnson closed out Branden Grace, 4 and 2, to give the Americans 17 points and assure them a tie. But it took more than an hour to get that last point.
Graham DeLaet holed out for birdie for the second time Sunday on the 18th hole, this time from a bunker to beat 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. Ernie Els found his putting touch and beat Steve Stricker. Marc Leishman rolled in a 15-foot par putt from the back fringe of the 18th green to beat Matt Kuchar. Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel won their matches.
The International team’s fleeting hopes ended when Woods didn’t make a birdie on the back nine and still won. Sterne helped him by hitting his tee shot off the corporate tents behind the 16th green and making bogey.
“It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, who went 4-1 for the best record of any player. “We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.”
China’s Shanshan Feng eagled the par-5 18th hole after her second shot approach hit the pin for a one-stroke victory in the smog-affected Reignwood Classic, the LPGA Tour’s first tournament in Beijing.
Feng closed with a 5-under 68 for a 26-under 266 total. Stacy Lewis also had a 68 to finish second. Top-ranked Inbee Park was third at 21 under after a 68.
Francesco Molinari beat Chris Wood 3 and 2 in the last singles match to give Continental Europe a 15-13 victory over Britain and Ireland in the Seve Trophy in Saint-Nom-la-Breteche, France. Continental Europe had lost the event the last six times after winning the inaugural contest in 2000.
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