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The best of The Presidents Cup 2009
Another Presidents Cup victory is in the books for the U.S. Team, but there is so much more to remember from Harding Park than who won and who lost. Both teams treated the golf world to an exciting week in San Francisco, and here are just a few of the highlights from the 2009 competition ...
Best U.S. Player
Tiger Woods, of course. He was the only player to win every match, just the third time that has happened in Presidents Cup history. And four of his wins were decisive; the only one he had to sweat out was the comeback win with partner Steve Stricker against Tim Clark and Mike Weir in Saturday's Foursomes. Woods made the two key shots in the last two holes to pull out that win. It was fitting that he gave the U.S. its clinching point on Sunday with a Singles win over nemesis Y.E. Yang. "That's what you expect out of your No. 1 player in the world," said International Captain Greg Norman. "You need him to step up to the plate, and sometimes he hasn't done that (in team competitions), and this time he did do it."
Tiger Woods' second shot at the par-5 18th in Saturday's Foursomes. Woods and Stricker were 1 down through 16 holes to Mike Weir and Tim Clark and in serious danger of being upset. But Woods rolled in a 23-foot birdie putt at the 17th to square the match, then won it with his second shot at the 18th. From 232 yards out, he landed his ball within nine feet for an eventual conceded eagle and the match. Woods would argue that his putt at No. 17 was more important than his shot at the 18th, but that last shot set up the victory and deflated the International Team.
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Four wins, no losses. They came to Harding Park wanting to play with each other, and U.S. Captain Fred Couples saw no reason to go against their wishes. Together, the world's No. 1 and 3 players ran through the competition -- only playing the 17th hole once in that defining match they survived with Mike Weir and Tim Clark. Perhaps even more impressive is that it wasn't just Tiger carrying the team. Stricker was an equal contributor, especially in Saturday's Four-Ball win over Ryo Ishikawa and Y.E. Yang. Stricker made seven of the pair's eight birdies in an incredible putting display -- two of his birdie putts were outside 31 feet. For one of the few times in his career, Woods was just along for the ride. Perhaps being paired so often during the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup provided time for the two to gel.
This would have to go to Phil Mickelson -- hands down. He coaxed the best out of Anthony Kim in the opening Foursomes, then helped his old friend Justin Leonard forget about that missed 3-footer at the 18th hole on Thursday that had cost the Americans a win. Lastly, he took over where Michael Jordan left off with Sean O'Hair and partnered the rookie to a win and a tie. Mickelson was unbeaten in team play at 3-0-1, then he came back to win his Singles match -- putting together his best Presidents Cup performance yet.
Could it be anyone other than Michael Jordan? To a man, the Americans talked about what it meant to have him in the U.S. Team room and keeping them loose during practice rounds. The Americans gave him a standing ovation at the closing ceremonies, and Jordan's speech on Saturday night about teamwork was nothing short of inspiring for the Americans, who went out and won seven points in Singles, including six matches outright.
This was a close one, but Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa gets the nod over Sean O'Hair. He just turned 18 years old, but he was hardly intimidated, eking out a 2-and-1 victory over Kenny Perry -- who, at 49, was the oldest man on either team -- in Singles to bring his record to 3-2-0. "He's going to be here for a long, long period of time," International Captain Greg Norman said at the closing ceremonies.
Given two of the men involved -- and the huge momentum boost the Internationals would have received with a win -- this has to go to Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker vs. Mike Weir and Tim Clark. America's dynamic duo was 1 down with two holes remaining in their match with the two International pit-bulls, Mike Weir and Tim Clark, when Woods turned it on. First he made a 23-footer for birdie at the 17th hole that enabled the U.S. Team to square the match when Mike Weir missed his. Then Woods uncorked a huge blast from 232 yards that settled 9 feet from the pin for what turned out to be the conceded eagle and the 1 up win. "We all know what he does, and he stepped it up when he had to here," Stricker said. "It was pretty impressive." Had Woods not turned up the fire and allowed the Internationals to win, it would have been a huge lift entering the afternoon Four-Balls.
Tiger Woods cruises to BMW Championship
Tiger Woods has won the BMW Championship for his sixth victory of the year, assuring himself the No. 1 ranking going into the final tournament of the FedEx Cup.
Brandt Snedeker, whose parents live in Baldwin County, finished 10th, 15 shots off Woods' pace after starting the day tied for second. Heath Slocum, a graduate of the University of South Alabama, finished 38th.
One day after record-breaking 62 at Cog Hill to build a seven-shot lead, Woods played efficiently and didn't let anyone get closer than six shots Sunday. He closed with a 3-under 68 for an eight-shot victory over Jim Furyk and Marc Leishman.
Woods won for the fifth time at Cog Hill, and it was his 10th time on the PGA Tour winning by at least eight shots.
The outcome was never in doubt at the top of the leaderboard. Instead, there was a scramble behind Woods to finish in the top 30 to reach the Tour Championship.
O'Hair leads Tour Championship - Woods 1 back
- Sean O'Hair got a putting tip from Tiger Woods and put it to good use today in the Tour Championship, opening with a 4-under 66 to take a one-shot lead in the final FedEx Cup playoff event.
- Woods recovered from a shaky start with three birdies during a four-hole stretch on the back nine at East Lake and had a 67, leaving him one shot back along with Padraig Harrington and British Open champion Stewart Cink.
- O'Hair and Woods played nine holes of practice on Wednesday, when Woods made a few suggestions on the technique of his putting. It paid off in what O'Hair described as a solid start that brought to life his chances in the FedEx Cup.