Tiger Woods leads U.S. to Presidents Cup win: 'We had to earn it' – ESPN,

Tiger Woods leads U.S. to Presidents Cup win: 'We had to earn it' – ESPN,

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MELBOURNE, Australia – There were high emotions and fierce hugs fromTiger Woods, this time as a winner both ways in the Presidents Cup.

Woods capped off a big year that began with his 15 th major at the Masters by playing and leading his US team to another victory in the Presidents Cup on Sunday at Royal Melbourne.

The first playing captain in (years, he opened the 12 singles matches by beatingAbraham Ancerto set the Presidents Cup record with his 90 th match victory, and set the tone for the rest of his team.

The scoreboard was filled with American red scores all day as they rallied from a two-point deficit to win the Presidents Cup for the eighth straight time against an International team that faltered at the worst time.

Matt Kuchardelivered the clinching putt, a 5-footer for birdie that assured him a halve againstLouis Oosthuizenand gave the Americans thepoints they needed to win.

“For us to be in a hole, to come back and win this thing … to win it as a team, but to do it with Tiger Woods as our captain was just a huge thrill, “Kuchar said.

The final result was – (********************************************************, and at least this one was a contest. The U.S. victory two years ago at Liberty National was so resounding that it nearly ended on Saturday.

International captain Ernie Elswas determined to turn it around. He created a new logo for the International team. He relied heavily on analytics. It still wasn’t enough.

“I followed a plan, and it didn’t quite work out, but we came damn close,” Els said. “If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building. But we gave it a hell of a go, and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time. “

Els thought back to Friday, when the Americans won two matches with birdies on the th hole to keep the International lead from growing. On Sunday, all he saw was U.S. momentum that couldn’t be stopped.

“We gave you everything we had,” Els said to Woods at the closing ceremony. “You were the better team.”

Woods hugged everyone hard, players and vice captains alike, wearing a smile not seen since he walked off the th green at Augusta National in April after becoming a Masters champion again after injuries that nearly ended his career.

“We relied on one another as a team, and we did it – together,” Woods said, his voice choked slightly with emotion. “This cup was not going to be given to us. We had to go earn it. And we did.”

Els fashioned the youngest International team from a record nine countries from everywhere outside Europe and took a – 8 lead into the final day, the first time it had the edge in (years.)

It was enough.

Patrick Reed, whose caddie was benched for shoving a fan who had cursed Reed from close range Saturday, built a 6-up lead through seven holes before putting awayCT Panto win for the first time this week.

Webb Simpson, who played with Reed as they lost all three team matches, never trailed in beating Byeong Hun An. Everyone on the U.S. team contributed something.

With so much red on the board,Tony Finaumight have been his team the biggest boost. He was 4 down through holes againstHideki Matsuyama, won the next four holes and earned a half-point.

It came down to the final hole in South Korea four years ago. This time, the Americans were assured of a tie if the Internationals were to win the last three matches, creating at least a little drama.

But it was a familiar ending. The Americans now are – 1-1 in an event that began in 2003.

“It’s hard to digest,” said Adam Scott, who has played in nine Presidents Cup without ever winning. “It’s incredibly disappointing, but … I like where this team is going, and I’ll be working really hard now to be on the team in two more years.”

The only International victory was in at Royal Melbourne, and several players from that team came to Australia this week to conjure up good vibes. It worked only for so long.

The Americans won the singles session for the first time since (*************************************. Most years, their lead was so big it was critical. This time it was. They hadn’t trailed since in South Africa, the year of the tie.

So inspired was the American play that none of their six singles victories made it to the (th hole.)

The last two matches were halved, and the 8-4 advantage in singles matched the record for the largest Sunday margin since the Americans won 8-4 in the inaugural Presidents Cup in

The next Presidents Cup is in at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina. In the meantime, the Americans will try to get on another team and win back the Ryder Cup, which gives them far more trouble.

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