Tiger Woods in stunning collapse at Presidents Cup

 

The United States recovered from a stunning collapse by Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to take a 4-2 lead in the Presidents Cup at the end of Thursday's opening foursomes as the nervous hosts stumbled late in the day.

Woods and former caddy Steve Williams had moved to defuse tensions following the New Zealander's recent racial slur, the pair shaking hands at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club's first tee on the opening day of the biennial tournament.

But the former world number one and playing partner Stricker looked far from comfortable thereafter, as they crashed to a 7&6 loss to Australia's Adam Scott and South Korean KJ Choi.

The U.S. made light of the pair's struggles, however, and it was their opponents who crumbled in front of packed galleries when the heat was on.

Having led in five of the six groups, the Australian-stacked Internationals faltered late in their rounds as their traditional weakness in foursomes came back to haunt them.

Their team trailing 3 1/2 points to 1 1/2, the final all-Australian pairing of Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day blew the chance to take the last point against Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

Baddeley burned the rim on a short putt that would have sealed the win on 17, then duffed his tee-shot into the right rough on the last as the nerves set in. Johnson calmly sank a six-footer to steal a half-point for the defending champions.

"Sometimes I know I feel probably worse than Aaron feels, because you know how he feels," Internationals captain Greg Norman told reporters.

"He hit one bad shot in 18 holes. If he looks back over it, all of the great putts he made and all of the great shots he hit, take all of those away from the day, don't take away that poor tee shot on 18."

The pairing of Australia's Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel were almost as profligate, surrendering a two-up lead in the last four holes to halve their match with Bill Haas and Nick Watney.

"Well, obviously, point-wise, we are more excited than we were an hour and a half before the day ended," U.S. captain Fred Couples said.

"But that's happened before, and our guys fought hard."

Couples paid tribute to the grit his players displayed late in the day but would also have been delighted with the performance of his first pair, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.

The Presidents Cup debutants were a model of composure as they hauled in Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa to give the United States a 1-0 lead.

The Americans quelled early jitters to come back from two-down after the first four holes and post an emphatic 4&2 win when Els conceded the match after missing a long birdie putt.

"I woke up this morning because I knew I was so nervous," 26-year-old Simpson said. "To be honest I was just thinking about the story of David and Goliath out there."

Woods and Stricker, who became the first pairing to win all four of their matches at the 2009 edition in San Francisco, were the sixth and final group out but trudged back to the clubhouse with four matches still to finish.

Both players struggled off the tee and on the fairways as Scott and Choi combined sublimely to slam the door on the 12th hole following a masterclass of putting and bunker play.

"We were just slightly off. On a golf course like this, it doesn't take much," said Woods after suffering his worst Presidents Cup loss in seven campaigns.

"They partnered up well, shot four-under on us, and we just couldn't get any kind of pressure on them."

Couples has split the pairing for Friday's four-ball matches, with Woods to partner Johnson against Day and Baddeley. Stricker teams up with Kuchar for South Korea's YE Yang and Australian Robert Allenby.

Hunter Mahan and David Toms were almost as ruthless as Scott and Choi as they handed hapless Yang and his compatriot Kim Kyung-tae a bruising 6&5 thrashing.

Phil Mickelson also enjoyed a lopsided 4&3 victory, his first Presidents Cup win outside North America, as he and Jim Furyk prevailed in a battle of veterans against South African Retief Goosen and Allenby.

Reuters

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee