Amer­ica trounces the In­ter­na­tion­als

The Pres­i­dent’s Cup will re­main on Amer­i­can soil after an em­phatic per­for­mance from the home team at the 12th stag­ing of the event at the Lib­erty Na­tional Golf Club in New Jer­sey.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - FEATURE - WORDS BY PETER THORN­TON

Steve Stricker's team lived up to their over­whelm­ing favourite's tag when they put away Nick Price's In­ter­na­tional side 19 -11 in one of the big­gest wins in Pres­i­dent's Cup his­tory.

It looked like the home team were head­ing for a record mar­gin of vic­tory but the eight-point win did not eclipse the ef­forts of the USA team of 2000 when the Ken Ven­turi team de­feated the In­ter­na­tion­als 21 ½ - 10 ½ at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Vir­ginia.

The In­ter­na­tion­als, who came into the week search­ing for their sec­ond vic­tory in the event since their sole win back in 1998, talked about con­tin­u­ing the mo­men­tum and be­lief they got back in South Korea two years ago in the nar­row loss (15 ½ - 14 1/2). The goal was to make the com­pe­ti­tion rel­e­vant again. They never turned up un­til the fi­nal day where they ral­lied im­pres­sively in the Sin­gles to re­store some cred­i­bil­ity.

In the most pa­tri­otic of set­tings with the in­com­pa­ra­ble cityscape of New York and the Statue of Lib­erty as a back­drop to the famed Lib­erty Na­tional course, the Amer­i­cans were at another level.

As al­ways the leader­board doesn't tell the full story. The In­ter­na­tion­als showed more fight than this de­fin­i­tive score line sug­gests, but every time the States were put un­der pres­sure they found another gear and the men from around the globe were found want­ing.

USA con­tin­ues their in­cred­i­ble record in the bi-an­nual event where they have now won the past seven in a row, 10 in to­tal, drawn once and lost once in the 12 events of The Pres­i­dent's Cup dat­ing back to 1994.

Right from the out­set the States set the tone. In the Thurs­day morn­ing Four­somes, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler put away two of the In­ter­na­tion­als big­ger names Charl Schwartzel and Hideki Mat­suyama. That fol­lowed with Matt Kuchar and Dustin John­son earn­ing the next point over Jhonat­tan Ve­gas and Adam Scott (1up) and Pa­trick Reed and Jor­dan Spi­eth con­tin­ued the mo­men­tum with a 5 and 4 win over Emil­iano Grillo and Si Woo Kim.

On the open­ing morn­ing, the USA side had got off the best pos­si­ble start win­ning the open­ing three matches and the be­spoke con­fi­dence and be­lief in the In­ter­na­tional team was gone.

They did fight back to claim a valu­able 1 1/2 points in the re­main­ing Four­somes matches with Bran­den Grace and Louis Oosthuizen show­ing some much­needed fight in a 3 and 1 win over Daniel Berger and US Open cham­pion Brooks Koepka, while Ja­son Day and Marc Leish­man man­aged a halve against Phil Mick­el­son and Kevin Kis­ner. It was a flash in the pan as the home side dom­i­nated the event from that point on.

If the In­ter­na­tion­als took any­thing from the open­ing day then that be­lief was squeezed out of them in the fol­low­ing two days as a Red, White and Blue jug­ger­naut rolled over them in non­cha­lant fashion. The cho­rus of ‘USA, USA, USA' could be heard right around the course as it was clear the lo­cal pa­trons were wit­ness­ing the most one-sided dis­play in the event's his­tory.

We all know that the Amer­i­can fans need lit­tle en­cour­age­ment to hoot and holler but with every tee shot and every ap­proach from their boys the re­cep­tion was at fever pitch.

After that brief resur­gence from the In­ter­na­tion­als on day one, their next win came two days later when late on Satur­day after­noon when Anir­ban Lahiri and Si Woo Kim com­bined for a con­so­la­tion point when they de­feated Kevin Chap­pel and Charley Hoff­man 1up.

Head­ing into the Sin­gles on Sun­day, the United States had an all­but unas­sail­able 14.5 – 3.5 lead.

The 11-point ad­van­tage was the largest lead en­ter­ing Sin­gles in Pres­i­dents Cup his­tory. The only way the In­ter­na­tion­als could have won was to win all 12 matches and Price had con­ceded de­feat.

“We've just come up against a jug­ger­naut of an Amer­i­can Team that has not put a foot wrong, it seems like, in three days,” he told re­porters. “They have had all the mo­men­tum and we've had noth­ing.”

Three-time ma­jor cham­pion Jor­dan Spi­eth, who won both of his matches Satur­day with part­ner Pa­trick Reed, could not wipe the smile off his face with the USA's dom­i­nance.

"We've had a phe­nom­e­nal week thus far and our team has played in­cred­i­ble golf,” he said.

Ev­ery­one ex­pected the Amer­i­cans to con­tinue that dom­i­nance on Sun­day after­noon in the Sin­gles to add an ex­cla­ma­tion point to their vic­tory but it did not play out that way.

The in­ter­na­tion­als showed some much needed char­ac­ter on the fi­nal day. Chap­pel got the home side off to good start when he man­aged a half with Marc Leish­man which left the USA only half a point away from clinch­ing the ti­tle.

Fit­tingly Daniel Berger, who was im­pres­sive in his de­but event, as­sured the Stars and Stripes the ti­tle when he went 3 up with three to play against Si Woo Kim in the fourth match. Berger wound up win­ning his match 2/1 and the cel­e­bra­tions were heard all over the course.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ar­rived at Lib­erty Na­tional about 45 min­utes before the Amer­i­cans se­cured the gold tro­phy. Trump, the hon­orary chair­man of the event, be­came the first sit­ting pres­i­dent to at­tend on the fi­nal day and present the tro­phy.

The one-sided re­sult will once again reignite the de­bate about the rel­e­vance of The Pres­i­dent's Cup and whether it is worth pur­su­ing.

The USA team, in the midst of the cel­e­bra­tions of their 10th vic­tory in the event, will no doubt al­ready be talk­ing about con­tin­u­ing this dom­i­nance in the Ry­der Cup next year in France.

While the Pres­i­dent's Cup has been a walk in the park for Amer­i­can teams over the years, it is a dif­fer­ent story in the his­toric equiv­a­lent with the Euro­peans. The men from the con­ti­nent have won six of the past eight cham­pi­onships dat­ing back to 2002 and the States have not won away from home since 1993 at The Bel­fry.

Charlie Hoff­man sprays Daniel Berger of the U.S. Team with cham­pagne after win­ning the Pres­i­dents Cup at Lib­erty Na­tional Golf Club, New Jer­sey.

Members of the U.S. Team (top) and In­ter­na­tional Team pose for a photo prior to the Pres­i­dents Cup.

The vic­to­ri­ous United States team with their wives and girl­friends with the Pres­i­dents Cup after their 19-11 win dur­ing the 2017 Pres­i­dents Cup at the Lib­erty Na­tional Golf Club.

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