independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Tiger Woods hails team effort as US claim Presidents Cup for fifth time in a row

Tiger Woods celebrates with his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn after defeating South Africa's Richard Sterne on the 18th hole at Muirfield Village GC to secure the President's Cup for the United States
Tiger Woods celebrates with his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn after defeating South Africa's Richard Sterne on the 18th hole at Muirfield Village GC to secure the President's Cup for the United States

TIGER WOODS won the deciding match for a third straight time and the United States lifted the Presidents Cup for a fifth straight time as they beat the International team 18.5 to 15.5 in Dublin, Ohio.

Woods once again had to battle through back pain but beat Richard Sterne 1 up for the deciding point.

"It was a team effort this whole week," Woods said on the PGA Tour website. "We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead."

After a rain-interrupted week, the United States began the final round with a 14-8 lead and, although they allowed the International team to come back towards the end of the day, the advantage was too great.

At one point, it appeared the Americans would enjoy a rout. Hunter Mahan collected the first win of the round by by beating Hideki Matsuyama, and although Jason Dufner scored a convincing win over Brendon de Jonge, Zach Johnson's win against Branden Grace moved the United States to 17 points and the verge of victory.

However, Nick Price's international team began a spirited fightback, perhaps aided by a creeping complacency within the American team.

"There was no intensity. We played and enjoyed the day and the people here in Columbus," said Phil Mickelson, who lost to Angel Cabrera after making four bogeys in the final five holes.

"I thought it was going to be closed out early. On 12 or 13, they said, 'Your match is going to count.' What? We ended up winning. That's all that matters."

Graham DeLaet holed out from a bunker on the 18th to beat Jordan Spieth 1-up, while a long birdie putt on the 16th helped Ernie Els to victory over Steve Stricker.

Further victories from Adam Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman sparked concerns among the Americans, but they could rely on Woods, who finished the weekend 4-1.

He did not have a single birdie after making the turn, but did enough as Sterne bogeyed the par-three 16th to give him the advantage.

After play had finished, Fred Couples said he would hand over captaincy duties ahead of the 2015 edition in Korea.

Couples has captained the United States to their last three victories.

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