Dublin Villager

Past Presidents Cups

U.S. Team dominating International squad

By DON DELCO
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Established in 1927, the Ryder Cup served as the premier biennial men's professional golf team event between the United States and Great Britain. In 1979, thanks in part to a suggestion from Jack Nicklaus, the Americans' opponent expanded to include all of Europe.

Still, top players from top-notch golfing countries like South Africa, Australia, Asia and Canada were excluded. That is, until the PGA Tour announced the Presidents Cup in the early 1990s. The first event, which drew inspiration from the Ryder Cup, was held in 1994.

While the Presidents Cup still featured the Americans, they would complete against a team comprised of top players from around the world, excluding Europe.

"The basic reason for the creation of The Presidents Cup was because players outside of Europe and the United States did not have the opportunity to participate in that kind of format on that kind of stage," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "And that was the basic driving reason of The Presidents Cup."

This year's event at Muirfield Village Golf Club is the 10th installment. So far, the U.S. has dominated, going 7-1-1.

"The Presidents Cup has grown since 1994, and I think it's become one of the greatest events in golf," Nicklaus said. "I'm delighted that Muirifeld Village has the opportunity to host it."

Originally, Presidents Cups were designated to be played on even years while Ryder Cups were held during its traditional odd years. The Sept. 11 attacks canceled the 2001 Ryder Cup and the schedule needed adjusting. Ryder Cups are now even years with Presidents Cups taking the odd years.

Below are brief recaps of the past nine Presidents Cups.

1994

•Final score: U.S. Team 20, International Team 12

•Site: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club

•City: Prince William County, Va.

•Captains: Hale Irwin, U.S. Team; David Graham, International Team

•Recap: The U.S. Team took control of the inaugural Presidents Cup winning all five of the morning four-ball matches Friday.

The International Team pulled within 12-8 entering Sunday's singles matches, but just like Friday morning, the U.S. Team took control early with Hale Irwin, Jay Haas and Jim Gallagher, Jr. winning the first three matches. Fred Couples clinched the U.S. Team's victory with a tap-in birdie on No. 18 to defeat Nick Price 1 up.

1996

•Final score: U.S. Team 16 1/2, International Team 15 1/2

•Site: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club

•City: Prince William County, Va.

•Captains: Arnold Palmer, U.S. Team; Peter Thompson, International Team

•Recap: Early on, it appeared as if the U.S. Team would cruise to its second consecutive Presidents Cup in as many tries.

After the first day of competition, the U.S. Team led 7 1/2 to 2 1/2 and kept a healthy 9 1/2 to 5 1/2 lead after the Saturday morning four-ball matches.

In the Saturday afternoon foursomes, the International Team stormed back winning four of the five matches to pull to within 10 1/2 to 9 1/2.

On Sunday, the International Team's final push came in the final five matches.

Steve Elkington, Ernie Els, Greg Norman and Frank Nobilo all won their matches pulling the International Team even with the U.S. Team at 15 1/2.

In order for the U.S. Team to retain the Presidents Cup, it came down to the final singles match between Fred Couples and Vijay Singh. Couples was 1 up entering No. 17 and birdied the hole to win 2 and 1 and keep the Cup in the hands of the U.S. Team.

In what is the closest winning margin of a Presidents Cup, the U.S. Team was led by Mark O'Meara (5-0-0) and David Duval (4-0-0).

1998

•Final score: International Team 20 1/2, U.S. Team 11 1/2

•Site: Royal Melbourne Golf Club

•City: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

•Captains: Jack Nicklaus, U.S. Team; Peter Thompson, International Team

•Recap: This year marked the first time the Presidents Cup was held outside the U.S.

Six of the International Team's 12-player roster along with its captain, Peter Thompson, were Australians.

The hometown contingent played well in front of their countrymen.

Stuart Appleby, Steve Elkington, Frank Nobilo, Greg Norman, Craig Perry and Greg Turner were a combined 15-6-5.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Team did not have a player finish above .500. Tiger Woods, in his first Presidents Cup appearance, was 2-3.

After two days of morning foursome and afternoon four-ball, the International Team led the U.S. Team 14 1/2 to 5 1/2. By the time the Sunday singles matches arrived, the International Team victory was all but secured.

Entering the 2013 Presidents Cup, this is the only win by the International Team.

2000

•Final score: U.S. Team 21 1/2, International Team 10 1/2

•Site: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club

•City: Prince William County, Va.

•Captains: Ken Venturi, U.S. Team Captain; Peter Thompson, International Team

•Recap: While 1998 was a run away victory by the International Team, the U.S. Team returned the favor two years later on American soil. In the first Presidents Cup that lasted four days, instead of three, the U.S. Team dominated afternoon foursomes on Thursday and Friday with a 9-1 record. Entering Sunday's singles matches, the U.S. Team led 14-6. The Americans won seven of the 12 singles matches to regain control of the Cup and record the largest margin of victory in the competition's history.

Davis Love III and Stewart Cink both went 4-0-0 for the Americans.

2003

•Final score: U.S. Team 17, International Team 17

•Site: The Links at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club Estate

•City: George, South Africa

•Captains: Jack Nicklaus, U.S. Team; Gary Player, International Team

•Recap: The real winner this year was darkness. Who would win the Cup came down to a Sunday singles match between Ernie Els and Tiger Woods. Their match lasted three playoff holes before U.S. Team captain Jack Nicklaus and International Team captain Gary Player decided to call it a tie.

"I did not find a team that deserved to lose," Nicklaus said.

Negotiations between the captains were intense before the match was called. The U.S. Team preferred to call it a tie. That meant, as per Presidents Cup rules, a tied match would hand the Cup back to the defending champions, which was the U.S. Team. The International Team wanted to come back Monday to finish the Els-Woods match for a chance at winning the Presidents Cup.

The U.S. Team counter offered with the idea to "share" the Cup for the next two years. The deal was accepted and the result was the event's lone tie.

"I didn't think it was fair for Tiger or Ernie to go into those extra holes, especially in the dark," 2013 International Team captain Nick Price said. "Sharing the Cup is all nice and diplomatic, but to me we're all going there to win the Cup."

2005

•Final score: U.S. Team 18 1/2, International Team 15 1/2

•Site: Robert Trent Jones Golf Club

•City: Price William County, Va.

•Captains: Jack Nicklaus, U.S. Team; Gary Player, International Team

•Recap: After three days of matches, the Sunday began with the teams tied at 11. As the singles matches unfolded, it came down to the U.S. Team sinking three clutch putts on No. 18. First, Fred Couples kicked in a 4-foot birdie putt to beat Vijay Singh 1 up. Then, Phil Mickelson birdied the final hole to square his match with Angel Cabrera and earn a half-point. Finally, Chris DiMarco sank a 13-foot Presidents Cup-winning birdie putt beat Stuart Appleby 1 up.

DiMarco, who finished runner-up to Tiger Woods at the Masters Tournament the previous April, led the U.S. Team at 4-0-1. In all, the Americans had three players finish unbeaten in DiMarco, Mickelson (3-0-2) and Jim Furyk (3-0-2).

2007

•Final score: U.S. Team 19 1/2, International Team 14 1/2

•Site: The Royal Montreal Golf Club

•City: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

•Captains: Jack Nicklaus, U.S. Team; Gary Player, International Team

•Recap: The U.S. Team dominated two different sessions to take a commanding lead entering Sunday's singles matches.

During Thursday's foursomes, the U.S. Team earned 5 1/2 out of a possible 6 points. Again in foursomes two days later, the U.S. Team won all five matches to take a 12-5 lead.

The Sunday singles matches were a mere formality for the U.S. Team. The lone excitement for the International Team at The Royal Montreal Golf Club came when Canadian Mike Weir defeated Tiger Woods 1 up. David Toms led the U.S. Team at 4-0-1 followed by Scott Verplank at 4-0-0.

2009

•Final score: U.S. 19 1/2, International Team 14 1/2

•Site: Harding Park Golf Course

•City: San Francisco, Calif.

•Captains: Fred Couples, U.S. Team; Greg Norman, International Team

•Recap: For the first time in the event's history, the matches on American soil were not played at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Price William County, Va.

The pairing of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker proved to be an unbeatable force at San Francisco's Harding Park.

During the foursomes and four-ball matches Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Stricker and Woods finished 4-0. Still, the U.S. Team led only 12 1/2 to 9 1/2 entering Sunday's singles matches.

Hunter Mahan, Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard and Antony Kim earned the U.S. Team 3 1/2 of a possible 4 points during the first four singles matches.

Fittingly, Woods, who finished 5-0-0, beat Y.E. Yang 6 and 5 to retain the Cup for the U.S. Just two months prior, Yang rallied from two strokes back on the final day to surpass Woods to win the 91st PGA Championship.

2011

•Final score: U.S. Team 19, International Team 15

•Site: Royal Melbourne Golf Club

•City: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

•Captains: Fred Couples, U.S. Team; Greg Norman, International Team

•Recap: Royal Melbourne returned to play host to the Presidents Cup, after the event was held at the Australian site in 1998. The familiar setting didn't help the International Team, as the U.S. won for the fourth consecutive time.

Tiger Woods defeated Australian Aaron Baddeley 4 and 3 in a Sunday's singles match to earn the Cup-retaining 18th point. Since Woods' off-the-course issues came to light in late 2009, he was in the midst of finding his "old self." He was no longer the world's top-ranked golfer and only joined the team via a captain's pick.

After three days, the U.S. Team led the International Team 13-9. The International Team won the first four singles matches to pull even with the U.S. Team at 13. The U.S. won six of the final eight matches, which included Woods' Cup-clinching effort.

The U.S. Team, which had six first-time players, was led by veteran Jim Furyk. The Pennsylvania-native won all five of his matches, as he finished as the only unbeaten player at The Presidents Cup.

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