GOLF: U.S. on top Down Under
AP Golf Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – The American returned Down Under and wound up on top in the Presidents Cup.
Jim Furyk became the fourth player to win all five of his matches, and the bottom half of the lineup was strong enough to give the Americans their fourth straight win in this lopsided series.
Perhaps it was only fitting that Tiger Woods clinched the cup for the second straight time.
U.S. captain Fred Couples was criticized for using a pick on Woods, who had been out with an injury most of the summer and had not won since his personal life crumbled two years ago. Woods played well all week, even if he didn’t always get rewarded with a point. In his singles match Sunday against Aaron Baddeley, he was never seriously challenged.
Woods closed out Baddeley, 4 and 3, and the celebration was on.
It was a small measure of revenge for the Americans, whose only lost came at Royal Melbourne in 1998. And it was vindication for Couples, who said a month early that he was taking Woods because he was the “best player forever.”
Woods looked as if he was headed in that direction.
The United States were up 18-15, with only the last match on the course at Royal Melbourne left to determine the final score.
The International team’s only win came 13 years ago at Royal Melbourne, when the Americans suffered their biggest loss in any team competition. There was no repeat this time, not even close.
The Americans led after each session, and their 13-9 lead going into the final session Sunday was too much for the International team to overcome, even with a loud and boisterous Australian crowd behind it.
Ryo Ishikawa, Charl Schwartzel, K.T. Kim and Geoff Ogilvy got the International side going. But the outcome was never seriously in doubt. Furyk, David Toms and Woods were at the bottom of the lineup, and none ever trailed.
Toms routed Robert Allenby, 7 and 5, giving the Australian a dubious distinction. He joined John Huston as the only captain’s picks to not win a single point.
Furyk, coming off his worst season since he was a PGA Tour, joined Woods, Shigeki Maruyama and Mark O’Meara as the only players to record a 5-0 record in the Presidents Cup. Furyk made an eagle on the par-5 second and beat Ernie Els 4 and 3.
“I felt better about my game than what I’ve been playing this year, and I kind of want to thank my partners,” said Furyk, who won three matches with Phil Mickelson and another with Nick Watney.
Mickelson, 3-0 going into singles, conceded the first three holes to Adam Scott and conceded another hole at the eighth to fall 4 down. He rallied far too late and lost, 2 and 1.