Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas put the United States on the Presidents Cup's board first with a 4-and-3 four-ball win over Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann on Day 1 Wednesday at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.
Woods, who is the United States team captain, shined in this competition. He earned the best ball six times over 15 holes compared to two each for Thomas, Niemann and Leishman.
The 15-time major winner got his team off to an excellent start with birdies on the first two holes. A great drive and approach led to a two-foot birdie putt on No. 1, and he knocked in a six-footer on the par-five second hole to put USA 2-up through two.
The USA and International sides went back and forth until the 14th hole, but Woods' chip on the fifth from 37 feet proved to be the shot of the day:
He also launched a perfect up-and-down to win the 11th:
Woods put the round away soon afterward.
With the U.S. leading 2-up, Woods launched a beautiful tee shot on the par-three 14th to within nine feet of the pin. He knocked home the birdie for the 3-up advantage.
Woods then wrapped up the win with a five-foot birdie on the par-five 15th.
Although the day went quite well for Woods and Thomas, it did not go smoothly for the rest of Team USA. The other four American four-ball pairings lost their matches to International teams, putting USA in a 4-1 hole into Day 2.
Per the Golf Channel broadcast, the leader after the first Presidents' Cup session has won the competition each time barring 2005, when Team USA overcame a one-point deficit to beat the International team. This year marks the 13th edition of the Presidents' Cup, which began in 1994.
The format will switch to foursomes for the second session. Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com explained the format.
"Two-golfer teams representing each country square off against each other," Porter wrote. "This time, however, the players have to switch off hitting the same ball until it rolls in the cup. Players have to switch off hitting tee shots no matter who made the putt on the previous hole. Scoring is still match-play style."
The Golf Channel will carry foursomes coverage Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight ET.