At the 2013 Presidents Cup on Sunday, Team USA flirted with a collapse greater than the one suffered at last year's Ryder Cup, but it was able to ward off those demons en route to an 18.5 to 15.5 win.
The Americans have dominated this biennial event, having lost just once since the event's inception in 1994.
Fittingly, it was Tiger Woods who clinched the victory when he sank a putt to defeat the slightly less accomplished Richard Sterne, 1-up.
The way things stood at the beginning of singles play, it was hard to believe Woods had the chance to be the closer. He teed off ninth of the 12 singles matches, and the Americans only needed 3.5 points out of the singles matches to clinch.
After weather wreaked havoc on the schedule of this event, Sunday began with the completion of four of Saturday's five foursome matches.
Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner teamed up to defeat Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman before play was halted on Saturday. That gave the Americans an 11.5 to 6.5 lead heading into Sunday.
In the race to 17.5, Team International had its work cut out for it. Yet if the foursome matches finished as they began on Sunday, the Internationals were set to pick up a point.
They did not finish as they began.
Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker overcame a deficit to steal a point, which meant the Americans would enter singles play with a 14-8 lead.
Check out the results of the foursome matches and the singles play. You can also view full results at PresidentsCup.com:
|United States Team||International Team||Result|
|Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley||Jason Day/Graham DeLaet||Halved|
|Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson||Richard Sterne/Marc Leishman||U.S. 4 and 3|
|Bill Haas/Steve Stricker||Adam Scott/Hideki Matsuyama||U.S. 4 and 3|
|Tiger Woods/Matt Kuchar||Ernie Els/Brendon de Jonge||Int. 1-up|
|Webb Simpson/Brandt Snedeker||Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel||U.S. 1-up|
|Steve Stricker||Ernie Els||Els, 1-up|
|Hunter Mahan||Hideki Matsuyama||Mahan, 3 and 2|
|Jason Dufner||Brendon de Jonge||Dufner, 4 and 3|
|Brandt Snedeker||Jason Day||Day, 6 and 4|
|Jordan Spieth||Graham DeLaet||DeLaet, 1-up|
|Bill Haas||Adam Scott||Scott, 2 and 1|
|Zach Johnson||Branden Grace||Johnson, 4 and 2|
|Matt Kuchar||Marc Leishman||Leishman, 1-up|
|Tiger Woods||Richard Sterne||Woods, 1-up|
|Keegan Bradley||Charl Schwartzel||Schwartzel, 2 and 1|
|Webb Simpson||Louis Oosthuizen||Halved|
|Phil Mickelson||Angel Cabrera||Cabrera, 1-up|
As singles play started and the rain began falling once again, thoughts were centered more on simply finishing this tournament before darkness fell than which side would win.
Rain coming hard again as final Singles match, Mickelson v. Cabrera tees off. As Capt. Price said, "Hopefully we get a result today."— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 6, 2013
Things got interesting, though. The International side came out to play in the singles matches and got off to a strong start.
Jason Day made sure of this by lighting up Muirfield in his match against Brandt Snedeker. Day was the fourth match to get started, but he ended it quickly by taking a 6-and-4 win.
This birdie came on the sixth hole, and it gave Day an early four-hole lead:
Still, when the suddenly red-hot Zach Johnson easily handled Branden Grace 4 and 2, the Americans were tantalizingly close to victory.
Zach Johnson gets the USA within a point of clinching the Cup, def. Branden Grace 4&2. #PresCup— The Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) October 6, 2013
Not that Team International was going to give up. Behind some neighborly love, DeLaet beat youngster Jordan Spieth after holing a bunker shot.
The dynamic end by DeLaet raised the possibility that maybe there was some magic in the air.
Things keep tightening at the #PresCup. Leishman leads Kuchar 1 up/17. 2 matches A/S. U.S. leads 2 matches 1 up.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 6, 2013
Adam Scott kept the Internationals' momentum rolling by beating the surging Bill Haas. Marc Leishman followed that up by besting Matt Kuchar.
With Leishman striking the ball like he did on the par-three eighth, Kuchar never stood a chance:
All of this led us to Woods. It was just last year when Woods left the Ryder Cup after having not secured a single point. He stood on the 18th fairway as the Europeans completed the dramatic four-point comeback in singles play to clinch the victory.
This time, the world No. 1 was able to slam the door shut.
There were still three matches on the course when Woods sealed the deal, and they still ran to completion. The International team continued its strong play, winning 2.5 of the remaining 3.5 points.
Kudos to the Americans for sealing the deal, but this group needs to figure out how to string together better performances in Sunday's singles play before next year's Ryder Cup.