PGA Tour
By Kevin Currie, Golf Editor - Archive - Email
Weather rules dull Presidents Cup
(L-R) Phil Mickelson; Jim Mackay Rain stopped play all four days for varying lengths of time.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - All golf tournaments are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Some also seem to be ruled by the tour's television partners.

The Presidents Cup was affected by a little of both.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, but the way the Presidents Cup played out -- with tape-delayed television coverage of the singles session -- led to an anti-climatic ending.

The American team leading by six points entering the singles session also made it anti-climatic, but when Tiger Woods was conceded par on the 18th green to win his match, and the Cup, you would have thought he just made par on the first hole -- the first day of a tournament.

The crowd applause was dull, and the team reaction was very understated as well. The United States team was full of guys who have been getting their behinds handed to them at the Ryder Cup, while at the same time winning five straight Presidents Cups.

Show some emotion, like the Europeans do at the Ryder Cup.

As the matches wrapped up, some two hours before the television coverage aired the completion, the players seemed relieved the event was over. The main reason the Americans weren't going crazy in their celebration was because they were exhausted.

Rain stopped play all four days for varying lengths of time.

Thursday's play wrapped up at sunset despite that day's stoppage. Friday's action, which in hindsight should have started earlier than scheduled, didn't finish until Saturday morning.

That, in turn, led to Saturday's afternoon session ending on Sunday morning. Many players played some or all of three different matches on Saturday. That is unheard of.

Officials did have the foresight to move Sunday's singles session up to beat more weather. Though they finished the session, they played the matches through bursts of drenching rain.

The players, coaches, grounds crew, fans and everyone else involved were exhausted, which in the end dulled the excitement of the American victory.

International captain Nick Price has been vocal about wanting to change the playing format, but wouldn't discuss it on Sunday. He allowed, "Let's let the Americans enjoy this win."

The problem was they were so tired, they seemed as though they didn't want to enjoy it, hence there was no over-the-top celebration.

Thanks for ruining the fun, Mother Nature.

HOW THEY PERFORMED AT MUIRFIELD VILLAGE

With Mother Nature playing a lead role at the Presidents Cup, let's look at how everyone performed at Muirfield Village.

First and foremost, Paul Latshaw, the course superintendent, and his crew get at A-plus-plus for keeping the course playable after all the rain.

Jason Day and Graham DeLaet were superstars for the Internationals. Both went 3-1-1, including a 2-1-1 mark in the four sessions they were paired together as a team. DeLaet, who led the PGA Tour in ball striking this year, showed off a flashy short game as well. He chipped in to halve his foursomes match Sunday morning and holed a bunker shot to close out his singles victory.

Ernie Els went 3-2 despite a poor putting week. He was helped out by Brendon de Jonge, as they went 2-2 as a team. De Jonge dropped his singles match to post a 2-3 mark for the week. De Jonge, who led the PGA Tour in birdies three of the last four years, made plenty over the weekend.

Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman both went 2-2 and were unspectacular. Masters champ Adam Scott was 2-2-1, including a 1-2-1 mark while paired with Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese star struggled to a 1-3-1 record for the week, but never looked out of place.

Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel struggled to a 1-3 mark through the first four sessions. Oosthuizen halved his singles match once the outcome was set, while Schwartzel beat Keegan Bradley late in the singles to keep the International teams hope alive.

Their loss Sunday morning was the biggest loss of the week. They led 3-up when the round resumed, but dropped a 1-down decision as the Americans pushed six points ahead heading into the singles.

The final two South Africans on the squad -- Richard Sterne and Branden Grace -- were shut out. They went 0-8, including a pair of losses while teamed together. Grace never made it to the 18th hole in any of his matches, while Sterne made it to the 18th in his singles match versus Tiger Woods.

For the United States team, Woods led the way with a 4-1 mark. He didn't have the best putting week, but seemed to hit his best shots when the most pressure was on. He played all five sessions, and went to the 18th hole the final three times.

Woods was paired with Matt Kuchar for all four team sessions, and they went 3-1 in their matches. Expect to see more of this tandem for years to come. Kuchar seemed to tire as the week went on and dropped his singles match to end the week at 3-2.

Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner may make a boring team, but they were 2-1 together and both cruised in their singles matches. Johnson holed out for eagle to close out his Saturday foursomes match. Of the many shots that danced around the holes all week, that hole out was one of the biggest shots of the week for the Americans.

Steve Stricker's plan not to play a lot of golf this year helped him be fresh enough to get through playing all five sessions. He lost a tough singles match with Els, but still went 3-2 for the week.

American captain Fred Couples took Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth with his two picks, and they combined to earn five points for him. Simpson went 2-1-2, while Spieth was 2-2.

Simpson and Brandt Snedeker rallied to beat Oosthuizen and Schwartzel on Sunday morning as the foursomes play wrapped up. That helped give the U.S. squad a six-point lead heading to singles play.

Spieth tired as the week went on, but showed he belonged and will be on many teams to come in the future. Snedeker disappointed as he went just 2-3. He was the lone American with a losing record for the week.

Hunter Mahan matched Spieth's 2-2 mark for the week. Mahan had flashes of brilliance and looked lost at times.

The final three -- Bradley, Mickelson and Bill Haas -- were all 2-2-1. Bradley and Mickelson were 2-1-1 as a team, and are now 5-1-1 in the last two team competitions. As long as Mickelson keeps playing these events, those two will be a formidable duo.

Haas played better than his record. He went 1-1-1 in three matches against Scott, the second-ranked player in the world.

In the end, the Americans won by three points, but a shot here or there and the matches could have tied for a second time. There are several pairs from both teams that will remain intact for years to come, and that can only help make the event better.

MINI-TIDBITS

* U.S. assistant captain Davis Love III and his pet squirrel on Thursday got way too much attention, and might have been the weirdest thing all week.

* Muirfield Village got eaten alive by both teams in the soft conditions. Scott and de Jonge both were 8-under on their own ball in Thursday's four-ball play. The teams of Mickelson and Bradley, and Woods and Kuchar, both went 6- under 30 through the front nine of Friday's alternate shot play. Very impressive scoring made easier by the soft conditions.

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