THE Presidents Cup is alive and well with a stirring fightback by the 2015 International team coming on top of news the tournament will return to Melbourne in 2019.
After the Internationals lost 4 to 1 on day one in the opening foursomes round it seemed the cup would once again be a procession for the Americans but the Internationals’ almost successful performance over the final three days has injected much needed new life into the biannual contest.
In the end it came down to the very last match on the very last green and a single point 15 ½ to 14 ½ victory to the Americans.
The South Africans were great all week with Branden Grace winning his matches 5 and 0 whilst Louis Oosthuizen did almost as well, eagling his final hole to snatch an important half point from Patrick Reed.
In the final round Sunday singles some of the Aussies also came good in a big way with Adam Scott finally getting his new shot putter working and handing a 6&5 drubbing to Rickie Fowler whilst Marc Leishman beat world No.1 Jordan Spieth 1 UP and debutant Steven Bowditch fought back to beat Jimmy Walker 2UP.
Jason Day wasn’t really on song all week, staging a bit of a late fightback against fellow 2015 major winner Zac Johnson but going down 3&2.
In a team sport you can’t really point the bone at individuals but no-one will be personally more disappointed than India’s Anirban Lahiri who had his match against Chris Kirk all but sewn up on the last. When Kirk sunk a decent length birdie putt Lahiri missed from just a couple a feet to give the Americans a full point at a crucial stage.
In the final match with the Presidents Cup hanging in the balance local Sangmoon Bae would also probably give anything to replay his final few holes.
One down against Bill Haas coming down the final hole he needed at least an up and down from not far off the green to keep the chance of a draw alive but completely fluffed his chip … when it failed to reach the green and trickled back towards his feet he collapsed and held his head in his hands. After several moments his caddie basically had to urge him to get up and attempt an unlikely chip-in.
It was a huge disappointment for the Internationals, and all those rooting for them, but overall showed a second win against the Americans (there has only been one in the history of the event, at Royal Melbourne in 1998) is not just a pipe dream.
There is now new live in an event that was in danger of becoming a very pale imitation of the hugely successful Ryder Cup. Hopefully the Internationals can continue to build from here.
Americans win 2015 Presidents Cup: Video Highlights
Presidents Cup Final Results