Golf

Woods again secures Presidents Cup win for U.S.

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For the third consecutive Presidents Cup, Tiger Woods secured the victory for the U.S. Team and captain Fred Couples.

Woods led Richard Sterne 1-up entering the par-4 18th hole at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Oct. 6. Both players reached the green in two but faced long birdie putts. Sterne was away and the South African's attempt was short, leaving Woods two putts from 36 feet to clinch the Cup. Woods rolled his birdie putt close enough that Sterne conceded the hole and match.

The U.S. Team beat the International Team 18 1/2-15 1/2, marking the Americans' fifth consecutive victory and their eighth win in 10 events. The margin of victory was the closest since the U.S. Team won by the same score in 2005.

"It was a team effort this whole week," said Woods, the top-ranked player in the World Golf Rankings who recently was named PGA Tour Player of the Year. "We really played well and gave ourselves a nice lead going into the singles matches."

The U.S. Team held a 14-8 lead entering the final day and, as it turned out, it needed that six-point cushion. Four victories in 12 singles matches would earn the Americans four points to retain the Cup and, in the seventh of 12 singles matches, Zach Johnson defeated Branden Grace of South Africa 4 and 2 to secure at least a tie for the U.S. Team. From there, it took awhile for the Americans to get that final point, as the International Team mounted a late run, winning the singles competition 7 1/2-4 1/2.

"(The International Team) fought really hard," Couples said. "They were in every match and won a few fairly easy. It scares you. We still had our horses at the end and, as a captain, even if you have a big lead, it isn't over until you get that 18th point."

The International Team's lone victory came in 1998 in Melbourne, Australia, and the teams tied in 2003 in South Africa. The Americans have won all six events that have taken place in the U.S.

"We're a real hodgepodge of players that came form all corners of the world," International Team captain Nick Price said. "We gave the Americans a good run for their money."

•OHIO IS TIGER FRIENDLY -- Woods' Presidents Cup-clinching victory over Sterne is the latest to bolster his Buckeye-based resume.

Woods has 79 victories on the PGA Tour, which ranks him second all-time behind Sam Snead (82), and 13 of those wins have come in Ohio. Woods has won the World Golf Classic-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron eight times and the Memorial Tournament five times.

Woods won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August and last won the Memorial in 2012.

•RAIN, RAIN DIDN'T GO AWAY -- For all the great golf shots displayed among the 18 holes at Muirfield Village, it was the rain and soggy conditions that dominated the event's storylines.

Play was suspended at times during the first three days because of bad weather. The morning of the final day, as the golfers concluded foursomes (alternate shot) from the third day, play continued even though a hard rain fell. By the time the singles matches teed off mid-morning on the final day, the rain stopped for the remainder of the event.

A total of 1.97 inches of rain fell during the four-day competition.

•HOME COOKIN' WAS KIND -- One of the key players on the International Team was Australian Jason Day, who is a Westerville resident and member at Muirfield Village. Day finished 3-1-1, including a 6-and-4 win over Brandt Snedeker in his singles match.

"It was awesome to have my wife being from an hour north of here and having our friends and family in town was fun," Day said. "It was a good week, regardless of the result."

•NEXT UP -- The Presidents Cup, which began in 1994, is held biannually. The next event will be played in 2015 at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in New Songdo City, South Korea.

The PGA Tour will return to Muirfield Village for the 38th Memorial Tournament, May 29-June 1, 2014. U.S. Team member Matt Kuchar is the Memorial's defending champion.

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