For the eighth time in 10 tries, the USA team skunked—or should we say squirreled—the International team in the Presidents Cup beating them handily 18.5 to 15.5.
It’s gotta be tough when your entire team is upstaged by a squirrel. But, that is how the International team must have felt when Lindsay Vonn had some fun with her usually uptight boyfriend, Tiger Woods.
Neither incessant rain delays nor a Sunday streaker could help the Internationals who came to Muirfield Village with seven rookies and a difficult uphill battle to win. Matched against America’s best, which included six players ranked in the top 10 in the world, the International team could just not muster enough power or skill to overtake their highly competent foes.
The Americans were so dominant they entered the last day with a 14 to eight lead, making the individual play simply a formality.
Hats off to all of their rookies, but the International team may need to store some acorns for their next event against the USA in 2015 in Korea.
Let's take a look at a list of the winners and losers who teed it up at this year’s Presidents Cup.
One of the major stories of this year’s event was the total number of rookies on both squads. How would they play on the big stage?
Well, a few made powerful statements for their future success.
Jordan Spieth: Paired with Steve Stricker, Spieth shot the lights out and led his team to two wins in four-ball and foursome play. The PGA Rookie of the Year continued to play like a seasoned vet and made the USA future look very bright.
Hideki Matsuyama: The young Japanese phenom played with Adam Scott and faced off against the best the USA had to offer in Matt Kuchar and Tiger Woods. Although his record didn’t show it at 1-3-1, he more than held his own and figures to be a prominent player on the tour and in future international events.
Graham DeLaet: The Canadian rookie was a prominent standout for the International squad. Playing with Jason Day, DeLaet showed why he was ranked third in greens in regulation during the season, pummeling the greens and turning the duo into a formidable pairing. His record of 3-1-1 says it all.
Brendon De Jonge: The team of De Jonge and Ernie Els proved to be one of the USA’s toughest competitors. On Friday, they cruised to a 4 & 3 victory over Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas and went on to win on Saturday as well with De Jonge leading the way and making Nick Price look good for making him a Captain’s pick.
Snedeker was on the losing end three times in five tries.
Not a great outing for the sandy-haired winner of two events this year. He may be one of the best putters on the tour, but he just couldn’t seem to find the hole when he and his team needed it most.
The easygoing PGA Champ continued his great play throughout the event, winning three times and beating the hot young De Jonge in the individual pairings.
Dufner’s appearance and strong showing in the Presidents Cup secured his position as one of America’s best players.
At one point, it looked like this pair of majors winners (Schwartzel won the 2011 Masters and Oosthuizen won the 2010 British Open) would be the lone bright spot for the Internationals.
Oosthuizen, who was coming off of four months without playing, looked like a good partner for the usually stalwart Schwartzel.
But then, in a foursome match against Snedeker and Webb Simpson, they blew a three-up lead with six holes to play with three bogeys and a double bogey.
Winning would have given the International team a nice momentum shift, but it was not meant to be.
The pairing of Woods and Kuchar seemed to be a pretty good idea. Then the two congratulated each other with a handshake straight out of the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," and it started to look like a stroke of genius.
The affable straight-shooting Kuchar struck a nice balance with the fiercely competitive Woods, and they went on to win three of their matches together.
When you consider that Kuchar won the Accenture Match Play event earlier this year and Woods has won it three times and owned a record 23 President Cup wins going into Muirfield, there was hardly a duo on the International team that could match up against them.
Oh yeah, and Tiger capped with USA win by finishing off rookie Richard Sterne in individual play for a 4-1 overall record.
Talk about a no-win position.
The No. 2 player in the world was in the unenviable spot of being the top player on a questionable team. His job was not only to win, but to push his team to victory, and ultimately, there was little to cheer about.
Scott showed his typical grit by coming through in his individual match and he fought valiantly in losing efforts in both a foursome and four-ball contest.
This was Scott’s sixth straight loss in Presidents Cup team play.
Couples now holds the record for consecutive President Cup wins as a captain with three.
Couples debuted as captain in 2009 and led the United States team to victories that year and also in 2011. Couples has appeared four times (1994, 1996, 1998, 2005) as a player.
He didn’t need to show a ton of guile or strategy this time around, but Couples surely leads by example with his calm and assured demeanor.
A player’s coach to be sure.
It’s tough to be a rookie under just about any circumstance, and both Grace and Sterne can look back on the Presidents Cup as a new experience.
Unfortunately, the two young players who have virtually no experience on American soil were unable to beat back their more competent and experienced completion.
Sterne at least can say he played against Tiger Woods.
Each left Muirfield with identical 0-4-0 records.
At this point, it goes without saying that Mickelson and Bradley are a great golfing duo and there was little question the two friends would be paired at the Presidents Cup.
With a record of 3-0 at the Ryder Cup last year, they started off roughly by losing their first match and then rallied to win two, including a stunning Friday foursome win over Jason Day and Graham DeLaet.
The victory by Mickelson and Bradley included a front nine of 30 in which they went eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie in one four-hole stretch to turn a one-hole deficit into a three-up lead.
They then took on Ernie Els and Brendon De Jonge, beating them 2-1 in the Saturday four-ball.
Finally, they met Day and DeLaet again for a foursome contest that they halved, but only after some Sunday morning heroics by the indomitable Mickelson, who hit one of those behind the tree shots within 10 feet of the hole.
Look for this May-December twosome to wreak havoc at next year's Ryder Cup.
As big-time international sporting events go, this one may be one of the least exciting and least competitive.
Is it time to change the makeup of this biennial lopsided matchup? Or do we just take it for what it is, a nice little gathering among some good golfers with lots of fanfare but little competition?
With seven rookies and a couple of questionable vets on their team, the International squad just never had a chance. This couldn't have been a lot of fun for the venerable Nick Price, who deserves much better.
The USA now leads the International team 8-1-1, winning for the fifth straight time.
Although just 25 years old and with only one win on the tour, Day is a gamer, the kind of player you don’t want to face when money is on the line.
He has shown that time and again in the majors where this year, he finished third at the Masters, tied for second at the U.S. Open and tied for eighth at the PGA Championship.
He also demonstrated his knack for competing at the highest level in all of his matches, including his 6 & 4 win against Snedeker on Sunday.