The United States team took a commanding 14-8 lead over captain Nick Price's International squad at the 2013 Presidents Cup when foursomes matches wrapped up on Sunday morning.
Despite trailing in three of four remaining group matches when play was suspended due to darkness on Saturday, the Americans managed to claw back and win two full points in two of them.
Three of the matches also came down to the final hole, creating plenty of excitement ahead of the 12 singles matches that have since gotten underway. While there is a mountainous deficit for the International team to overcome, anything can happen in one-on-one encounters between some of the best golfers in the world.
Below is a look at the foursome scores from Saturday and Sunday, along with a recap and analysis of all of the action that took place.
|Result||U.S. players||International players|
|Halved||Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley||Jason Day/Graham DeLaet|
|USA, 4 and 3||Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson||Richard Sterne/Marc Leishman|
|USA, 4 and 3||Bill Haas/Steve Stricker||Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama|
|USA, 1 Up||Webb Simpson/Brandt Snedeker||Charl Schwartzel/Louis Oosthuizen|
|International, 1 Up||Tiger Woods/Matt Kuchar||Ernie Els/Brendon de Jonge|
It seemed as though every time the International team tried to generate any momentum, the favored U.S. team responded to the adversity with a stronger counterpunch.
A big turning point was how Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson rallied in their match against Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman. The Americans were 2 down through the seventh hole, but played their last eight holes in six under par, capped off by Johnson holing out for eagle on the par-five 15th to clinch the victory:
That result came before darkness halted the action, and it gave the U.S. a boost despite the threat of a comeback from the Internationals.
Graham DeLaet did his best to steal a match from Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson by chipping in on the par-four 18th:
Unfortunately for DeLaet and partner Jason Day, a sweet approach by Lefty in the alternate shot format was complemented with a center-cut putt from Bradley to earn a half-point.
Which singles match are you most excited for?
The South African tandem of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were 3 up through eight holes, but imploded on Sunday and wound up losing 1 up to Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson.
This theme of the U.S. overcoming adversity is undeniable at this point.
It shows how the competition may not be close in terms of points, but the matches themselves have been hotly contested.
The door was left a little bit ajar entering singles when Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar lost their first match of the competition to Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge.
Controversy has risen because of Woods' opponent in Sterne, which isn't exactly the best way to bring electricity to the competition.
Tiger Woods vs. Richard Sterne. The captains may have given this Presidents Cup the perfect anti-climax to an anticlimactic Sunday.— Randall Mell (@RandallMellGC) October 6, 2013
But Jason Sobel of Golf Channel brings up a good point: U.S. captain Fred Couples is playing to win rather than to entertain:
Captains' conundrum: Set up singles matches for entertainment value or best chance to win? Criticize if you want, but latter is right move.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) October 6, 2013
The action will continue to be covered on NBC at noon ET, according to the tournament's official Twitter, which also lists out the 12 singles matches:
It seems this U.S. bunch responds well when things go wrong. Even if the International team mounts a furious charge, the hosting favorites should have no trouble winning the Cup for the fifth straight time.