Friday the 13th appeared to be shaping as the beginning of the end of the United States' Presidents Cup dominance. Two days later, their class came to the fore.

Trailing the Internationals 4-1 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club following the opening day's four-ball contests, the USA found themselves behind in every foursomes matchup on Friday.

They were facing a staggering 9-1 deficit before the momentum swung and the session was somehow split thanks to clutch putts from Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay.

The USA's 6.5 - 3.5 deficit became 9-5 after Saturday morning's four-ball, but with the talent in their team, they could always look ahead to 12 singles matchups.

Thomas and Rickie Fowler may have coughed up a 5up lead in the foursomes later on Saturday, but the USA were back to within 10-8 and in position for an eighth straight title.

Playing captain Tiger Woods had taken the risk of not playing himself on Saturday despite two wins on the opening two days.

That gamble paid off, the show of faith in his team – and his ability to lead by example on a decisive day – proving crucial.

The USA grabbed a record-equalling eight points in the singles, Woods' 3 and 2 win over Abraham Ancer – the Internationals' best player of the week – setting the tone.

Of the 12 singles matches, the USA had a higher ranked player in 11. The other was world number 24 Matt Kuchar, who halved his match with the 20th-ranked Louis Oosthuizen.

Internationals captain Ernie Els appeared to accept some responsibility for the defeat despite being proud of his team, but his work on the opening days helped set up what would have been a major upset.

His team led 10-8 after his pairings, but the USA's class eventually prevailed in the singles.

The Internationals were left with a sense of what might have been, given the position they worked so hard to put themselves in.

Royal Melbourne was the scene of their only Presidents Cup triumph 21 years ago, and it seemed set to be where the drought would be broken.

But just as Friday the 13th looked set to be unlucky for the USA, it proved to be for the Internationals, Woods and his team showing their class exactly when they needed to.

International captain Ernie Els expressed pride with his young team after they almost upstaged "one of the greatest golf teams of all time" at the Presidents Cup.  

Els' Internationals were unable to maintain their 10-8 lead in Sunday's singles, beaten 16-14 by defending champions the United States in Melbourne.

It was a USA onslaught at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, where Tiger Woods' team scored a record-equalling eight points to prevent the Internationals from claiming a first Presidents Cup since 1998.

The USA became the first team in history to win the Presidents Cup after trailing prior to the final round as the Internationals threatened to dethrone their star-studded opponents.

Despite falling short, Els - whose team featured seven debutants - told a news conference: "It's been an incredible week…The players were just incredible. They were open for a new formula, so to speak, and embraced what I said to them, and you know, here we are. You know, we lost 16-14, and we've got to swallow that.

"But great strides were made, especially in our team play. I really felt that our team play was really the core of our team, and that never was. We never felt like we could play foursomes or four-ball together as a team. We did that well.

"Before the week started, we had a plan to get to 10 points by Saturday evening. So that's why we were so excited yesterday, losing 3-1, because we knew we got to 10 points. I could have made different choices in the singles today. I can take it on my shoulders. It is what it is.

"The questions will come from you guys and the public that I made mistakes in the selection of where I put my players, but I followed a plan from 100 per cent, and it didn't quite work out, but we came damn close.

"I think the US team, and I think you guys, and I think the people around the world will look at these guys in a different way. I think you guys have seen what can happen. If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building. But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.

"If you look at their record and where these guys are at the moment, they are going places; I can tell you that. We do have major champion winners up here. We do have number ones, former number ones, but we also have had guys playing for the first time, and I can only see their future going in a great manner.

"It was wonderful serving with them, and it's going to be tough. We've got to fly a long ways to get home. It's going to be tough to swallow but we do have a great sense of humour in our team. It won't be long before you see the music or hear the music playing in our team room. Nobody died out there, and it was a sport, and we gave it our all. So, so be it."

Tiger Woods described the United States' comeback as "amazing" after the defending champions mounted a historic rally to retain the Presidents Cup.

The USA became the first team to win the Presidents Cup after trailing the Internationals heading into the final day thanks to a stunning fightback in Melbourne on Sunday.

Led by Woods, the USA clinched eight points in the singles for a 16-14 triumph and an eighth consecutive success, having been down 10-8 by the close of play on Saturday.

Playing captain Woods - who broke the record for most Presidents Cup wins with 27, surpassing Phil Mickelson - said: "We did it together. We came here as a team. My team-mates and my boys all played well. 

"The captains did an amazing job of just being there for every little detail. I couldn't have done it without all their help and all my boys. They did it."

"It's been one of the more amazing challenges, but you know, Stricks [Steve Stricker] and Coups [Fred Couples] and Zach [Johnson], they were amazing," 15-time major champion Woods added.

"All the guys, they believed in one another. We relied on one another as a team and we did it together."

Woods sat out Saturday's four-ball and foursomes but returned to lead-off the USA on Sunday, setting the tone with a comprehensive 3 and 2 victory against Abraham Ancer.

"I trust all my 11 guys. I trust them implicitly; I told them from the very get go. They went out there and got the points we needed. We fought," Woods continued.

"Even the points we lost, we were making them earn every one of them, and this cup wasn't going to be given to us. We had to go earn it, and we did."

It was a case of so close but yet so far for Ernie Els' International team, who were dreaming of a first Presidents Cup success since 1998.

The Internationals stormed out of the blocks with a 4-1 lead after the opening day and they maintained that advantage until the USA flipped the script on its head on Sunday.

Captain Els, whose team included a number of debutants, was emotional afterwards.

"I can only give them my love," Els said. "They tried so hard. They played so hard for each other and the team, and to buy into something new like I tried, I really have to take my hat off to every one of them. 

"There are a lot of young, young players, a lot of players that the world has never seen or heard but you will see them a lot in the future. I have admiration for my guys and the caddies and the wives, it's been fantastic."

Els added: "You're going to make me cry now. I just love these guys. We've spent all week together and all year together with all the meetings we've had, and them buying into all the stuff that I came up with, and they were 100 per cent in, and I was 100 per cent with them. It was a collective effort of just great people, the wives, the caddies, PGA Tour staff, everybody worked together on this one.

"We didn't get the result we wanted, but we got 10 points in four sections of team play, and that means the team building was a success."

The United States completed a record comeback to clinch an eighth consecutive Presidents Cup at the expense of the Internationals following a lopsided singles session.

No team had ever won the Presidents Cup after trailing at the start of the final round, with Tiger Woods' USA 10-8 adrift of the Internationals heading into the deciding day in Melbourne.

But the USA made history as they sensationally rallied past Ernie Els' Internationals in Sunday's singles for a 16-14 win at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

The Internationals, who were dreaming of a first Presidents Cup since 1998 having kept the USA at bay for three days, had to win the final three matches just to tie the 13th edition of the tournament in a tense finale.

However, the Internationals could only manage one as the USA collected eight points - a joint singles record - to defy the odds and see off the challenge. 

Woods wanted to lead from the front after teeing off for the USA in the opening match of 12 singles, and the record-breaking American did just that.

Having watched from the sidelines on Saturday, playing captain Woods produced another masterclass to blitz Abraham Ancer 3 and 2.

Woods, the youngest captain at 43, made it three wins from three at this year's event to surpass Phil Mickelson for most Presidents Cup match victories with 27 in total.

That set the tone for the USA as Dustin Johnson followed suit by collecting another point to level the Presidents Cup at 10-10 - the former world number one easing past Li Haotong 4 and 3.

Red continued to dominate the leaderboard as American villain Patrick Reed broke through for his first win of the tournament. Without his usual caddie following a fan altercation on Saturday, Reed steamrolled C.T. Pan 4 and 2 thanks to eight birdies.

A tough day for the Internationals saw Hideki Matsuyama squander a 4up lead to tie with Tony Finau, though they finally got on the board courtesy of Im Sung-jae, who took down U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland 4 and 3.

Cameron Smith put some wind into the Internationals' sails with a gritty 2 and 1 victory against star Justin Thomas, but victories from Patrick Cantlay (3 and 2 over Joaquin Niemann), Xander Schauffele (2 and 1 over Adam Scott) and Webb Simpson (2 and 1 over Byeong Hun An) proved too difficult to overcome.

Matt Kuchar went 1up on the 17th hole to guarantee a USA victory and spark wild celebrations among the team, Woods becoming a first-time winning captain.

The United States claimed their eighth consecutive Presidents Cup after becoming the first team to win the tournament when trailing at the start of the final day.

 

Defending champions the United States are charging towards an unprecedented Presidents Cup comeback, though the Internationals continue to dig deep in Melbourne. 

Down 10-8 prior to Sunday's deciding singles, the USA faced an uphill battle to claim an eighth consecutive title as no team had ever trailed after three sessions and won the Presidents Cup.

However, the USA are on track to sensationally retain their crown, with Tiger Woods' team up in six of the 12 matches and projected to triumph 15.5 - 14.5 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

First out against Abraham Ancer, Woods returned for the singles showdown after sitting out on Saturday and the 15-time major champion has led the way in more overcast conditions.

Woods - who can break the record for most matches won at the Presidents Cup - leads Ancer 3up through 15 holes.

Controversial American Patrick Reed - without his usual caddie following a fan altercation on Saturday - birdied five of his opening seven holes in a remarkable start to his day against C.T. Pan.

The USA's Tony Finau has also mounted a remarkable comeback, rallying from 4down through 10 to be level with Hideki Matsuyama after 14.

Following three consecutive losses, 2018 champion Reed is 2up, having been 6up after seven holes, while compatriot Dustin Johnson is 4up over Li Haotong.

The Internationals - eyeing a first title since 1998 - are ahead in three matches thanks to Louis Oosthuizen, Im Sung-jae and Joaquin Niemann.

There is plenty on the line as the United States and the International team go head-to-head on the final day of the Presidents Cup.

The USA are eyeing their eighth consecutive Presidents Cup title, but the defending champions must overturn a 10-8 deficit in Sunday's singles in Melbourne, where fans are queuing up in large numbers at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

No team have trailed after three sessions and won the Presidents Cup, with Ernie Els' Internationals - leading since the opening day - looking to clinch their first crown since 1998 - a triumph also in Melbourne 21 years ago.

After the Internationals managed to preserve their lead in a dramatic finish to Saturday's foursomes, USA captain Tiger Woods has returned for the singles.

Woods sat out both sessions on Saturday - the four-ball and foursomes - but the 15-time major champion is back with club in hand against Abraham Ancer in the opening match.

It could be a historic day for Woods, who can set the record for most matches won at the Presidents Cup, having tied Phil Mickelson's tally of 26 on Friday.

Meanwhile, controversial American Patrick Reed is without caddie Kessler Karain for the third match against C.T. Pan following a fan altercation on Saturday.

Tiger Woods accused the Royal Melbourne crowd of going "over the top" after a wild third day at the Presidents Cup.

The Internationals head into Sunday's singles with a 10-8 advantage over Woods' United States team, but the day was notable for a crowd disturbance that led to Patrick Reed's caddie being suspended for the rest of the event.

Kessler Karain was involved in an altercation with a fan after Reed and his partner Webb Simpson lost to Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan in the morning four-balls.

Karain admitted he had "had enough" of the hostility shown towards Reed, who has played the role of pantomime villain this week after arriving in Australia on the back of accusations of cheating during the Hero World Challenge.

The caddie told Fore Play: "Riding on the cart, a guy was about three feet from Patrick and said, 'you f****** suck.' I got off the cart and shoved him, said a couple things, probably a few expletives.

"Security came and I got back in the cart and left. I don't think there's one caddie I know that could blame me."

Woods, who will go out first on Sunday before taking over his captaincy duties, felt alcohol had played a part in the incident and asked for a more respectful approach on the final day.

Asked how the atmosphere compared to a Ryder Cup, the US captain said: "Well, I think it's different. There aren't as many people at this venue because it's so small, a lot of bottlenecks.

"There's obviously some yelling. There's people who have had a lot to drink and have gone over the top.

"I've heard it. I've been in the groups playing when it has happened, and I've been inside the ropes as a captain witnessing it.

"Bipartisanship is part of playing in team matches, whether you're home or on the road, it's part of the deal. As long as the fans are respectful, all we ask is for them to be respectful.

"Hopefully they will be excited [about] Sunday and the matches and be very respectful of all the players."

Woods' Internationals counterpart Ernie Els felt the galleries were "pretty quiet" compared to New York in 2017 and that the Americans should "take it and move on".

The South African said: "I've played in many Presidents Cups. I've played in the US many times. If you look back at New York and how these players were treated in New York, this crowd is pretty quiet.

"I mean, we just get treated the same wherever you go as an away game, there's some heckling going on and we all know that, and you prepare for that, and that's just the way it goes.

"We shut up and we get on with things. That's what we did in New York. So it's part of the game.

"And I'm with Tiger; I'm against heckling. I'm against crowds being disrespectful to the players, but it happens. We as professionals, we move on.

"I think Tiger is one of the ultimate professionals that's ever played the game. I've played with him where he's been heckled in US Opens and a lot of other places. He's taken it on the chin and he's moved forward. He's been an example.

"Same has happened to me. It's happened to a lot of players. But I must say, this Aussie crowd, okay, they got a little bit boisterous this afternoon with a couple of beers, but which crowd doesn't. You take it and you move on."

United States captain Tiger Woods will attempt to lead from the front after putting himself out first for Sunday's singles as the seven-time defending champions fight to retain their Presidents Cup crown against the Internationals.  

The USA head into the final day trailing the Internationals 10-8 following a dramatic ending to Saturday's action at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

Playing captain Woods kept himself out of both the morning four-ball and the afternoon foursomes as Ernie Els' International team preserved their lead, despite a USA rally.

But with the USA - who threatened to sweep the foursomes before the Internationals stormed back - eyeing an eighth straight title, Woods will open the singles against Abraham Ancer in Melbourne.

Woods has the chance to set the record for most matches won at the Presidents Cup, after the 15-time major champion tied Phil Mickelson with his 26th victory on Friday.

Controversial American Patrick Reed will face C.T. Pan in the third match, but without caddie Kessler Karain - who has been banned following a fan altercation on Saturday.

Australian Marc Leishman will be the final International to tee off after being drawn against Rickie Fowler as the challengers target a first Presidents Cup triumph since 1998.

Leishman has confidence and momentum after he and Ancer sensationally rallied from 5down through 10 holes to halve their match against Fowler and Justin Thomas in Saturday's foursomes.

 

Sunday's singles matches (Internationals v the USA)

Abraham Ancer v Tiger Woods
Hideki Matsuyama v Tony Finau
C.T. Pan v Patrick Reed
Li Haotong v Dustin Johnson
Adam Hadwin v Bryson DeChambeau
Im Sung-jae v Gary Woodland
Joaquin v Niemann v Patrick Cantlay
Adam Scott v Xander Schauffele
Byeong Hun An v Webb Simpson
Cameron Smith v Justin Thomas
Louis Oosthuizen v Matt Kuchar
Marc Leishman v Rickie Fowler

The Internationals produced a stunning late comeback to stay in the lead over the United States heading into the final day of the Presidents Cup.

Seven-time defending champions the USA were on track to sweep the afternoon's foursomes, which would have tied the Presidents Cup at 9-9 on Saturday.

Approaching 17:30 local time (06:30 GMT) in Melbourne, Tiger Woods' USA led all four matchups in a remarkable comeback, having ended the morning four-balls 9-5 adrift.

But Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler sensationally coughed up a 5up lead against Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer, who triggered a dramatic finish to the fourth session at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

By the time proceedings ended after 18:00 local time (07:00 GMT), the Internationals held a 10-8 lead heading into Sunday's 12 singles.

No team have trailed after three sessions and won the Presidents Cup, however, the USA emerged for the foursomes on a mission to create history.

Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland put a point on the board for the USA via a 2 and 1 victory over Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen.

A second point came thanks to Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, who saw off Im Sung-jae and Cameron Smith by the same scoreline.

That is when the fun began. Thomas - carrying a perfect 3-0-0 record - and Fowler approached the 11th tee boasting a commanding 5up advantage against Australian Leishman and Mexican team-mate Ancer.

Leishman had not won all week, but his rally alongside Ancer energised the crowd during a memorable ending to the day's play. After Thomas' wild tee shot landed among the trees, Leishman's stunning approach helped secure an unthinkable halve for the Internationals.

Attention then turned to Joaquin Niemann and Byeong Hun An, who were 2down through 13 against Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar.

With Ernie Els watching on and fans at full voice, Niemann's brilliant shot from the rough paved the way for the Internationals - without a Presidents Cup triumph since 1998 - to halve another match. An did have a birdie chance to win the match but his effort slid agonisingly wide of the hole.

The United States have recovered from a difficult morning session as the reigning Presidents Cup champions threaten to move within a point of the Internationals.

A strong showing in the four-ball format saw the Internationals take a 9-5 lead over the USA in their pursuit of a first Presidents Cup title since 1998 on Saturday.

No one has trailed after three sessions and won the Presidents Cup, but led by Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, the USA are projected to reduce the deficit to 10-8 in the foursomes at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

The Internationals almost won three of the four matches in the four-balls, but some late heroics from Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar salvaged half a point for the USA in the session's final contest.

That moment appears to be a turning point for the USA, who are ahead in three of the four scheduled foursomes in Melbourne.

Playing captain Tiger Woods surprisingly left himself sidelined for the afternoon, having sat out the four-ball, but his team have not missed a beat.

After outclassing Marc Leishman and Li Haotong, Thomas and Fowler are on track for another big victory.

Thomas - boasting a flawless 3-0-0 record this year - and Fowler are 4up through 11 holes against Leishman and Abraham Ancer.

Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland, brought back into the mix for the foursomes, are 2up after 12 over Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen, while Finau and Kuchar are also 2up through nine against Joaquin Niemann and Byeong Hun An.

As for International pair Cameron Smith and Im Sung-jae, they are 1up against Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele through 10.

Tiger Woods insisted he is not injured after sidelining himself for back-to-back sessions as the United States continue to struggle at the Presidents Cup.

Saturday morning's four-ball contests left seven-time reigning champions the USA trailing Ernie Els' Internationals 9-5 in Melbourne, where Woods sat out.

Despite the USA facing an uphill battle to maintain their stranglehold on the tournament, playing captain Woods again opted to partner Justin Thomas with Rickie Fowler for the afternoon's foursomes.

It came as a surprise, given Woods won consecutive matches alongside Thomas on Thursday and Friday at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

However, 15-time major champion Woods - who equalled Phil Mickelson's record for most Presidents Cup wins on Friday - told reporters: "You have to do what's best for the team, and I'm getting ready for the singles tomorrow [Sunday]."

"I tried to talk myself out of it, too," added Woods, who denied he is injured. "But you know, it is what it is, and we're going to go out there and try and get some points today and be ready for tomorrow."

Woods' decision to leave himself out of action until Sunday's singles surprised International captain Els - whose team are on track for their first Presidents Cup triumph since 1998.

"Yes, especially the way he's been playing with JT," Els replied when asked if he was surprised by the absence of Woods. "But JT has been a rock-solid on their side, and looks like he's teaming well with Rickie.

"But yeah, I thought Tiger would play this afternoon."

The Internationals are closing in on their first Presidents Cup title since 1998 after moving further clear of the United States in another stunning performance on Saturday.  

It has been 21 years since the International team won the Presidents Cup - also at Royal Melbourne Golf Club - as the USA have continued to dominate the event with seven successive trophies.

However, the Internationals are on track to end USA's dominance after winning two of four matchups in Saturday morning's four-ball session for a 9-5 lead.

The Internationals had never lost a combined four-balls contest while hosting the Presidents Cup and that record remained intact thanks to Hideki Matsuyama/C.T. Pan and Abraham Ancer/Im Sung-jae.

After back-to-back wins, playing captain and 15-time major champion Tiger Woods opted to sit out the four-ball as he instead partnered Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler in Melbourne.

Thomas starred in the opening match, finishing with four birdies against Marc Leishman and Li Haotong - his fourth sealing a dominant 3 and 2 win as he improved to 3-0-0 for the event.

The USA had hoped to maintain their momentum after salvaging two of the final three foursomes on Friday, however, the Internationals enjoyed further success in the four-ball format after racing out to a 4-1 lead on Thursday.

Ancer claimed the Internationals' first point of the morning courtesy of a stunning shot on the 16th hole to ensure he and Im defeated Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay 3 and 2.

It was far more straightforward for Matsuyama and Pan, who heaped further misery on winless duo Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson.

Reed - in the firing line amid cheating allegations following the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas - and Simpson fell to a third consecutive loss, swept aside 5 and 3 by the formidable International pair.

No one has trailed after three sessions and won the Presidents Cup, so the USA have their work cut out despite Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau salvaging half a point against Adam Scott and Byeong Hun An.

Kuchar's missed birdie putt on 15 allowed Scott and An to go 1up, but Finau made birdie at the last, although the seven-time defending champions are under pressure heading into the afternoon's foursomes.

Tiger Woods has decided not to play Saturday's foursomes at the Presidents Cup despite the United States being in major trouble in Melbourne.

Woods was victorious on the opening two days at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, but opted to skip the morning four-ball contests on Saturday.

While expectations were the 15-time major champion would return in the afternoon for the foursomes, the playing captain left himself out even with the USA stunningly trailing the Internationals 9-5.

Dustin Johnson will return alongside Gary Woodland against Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen.

The pairing of Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, coming off a win earlier in the day, will play against Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman.

Im Sung-jae and Cameron Smith take on Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, while the duo of Joaquin Niemann and Byeong Hun An meet Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar.

Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, beaten in all three of their matches so far, will miss the foursomes.

Saturday's foursomes matches (Internationals v the USA)

Adam Scott/Louis Oosthuizen v Gary Woodland/Dustin Johnson
Abraham Ancer/Marc Leishman v Rickie Fowler/Justin Thomas
Im Sung-jae/Cameron Smith v Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele
Joaquin Niemann/Byeong Hun An v Tony Finau/Matt Kuchar

Patrick Reed is on track to suffer his third consecutive defeat and remain winless at the Presidents Cup in Melbourne on Saturday. 

It has been a tough week for United States golfer Reed, who entered the 13th Presidents Cup embroiled in controversy.

Reed – the 2018 Masters champion – arrived at Royal Melbourne Golf Club as public enemy number one after his two-stroke penalty during last week's tournament in the Bahamas.

Already a maligned figure on the PGA Tour, American golfer Reed was penalised for improving his lie in the bunker, hitting the sand twice during his practice swings, sparking controversy and claims of cheating.

The Presidents Cup, however, has not proved forgiving for the 29-year-old - who taunted the Melbourne crowd by mimicking a shovelling motion amid heckles on Friday.

Reed has played alongside countryman Webb Simpson and the pair have been unable to score a point for Tiger Woods' team against the Internationals.

Beaten on Thursday and Friday, Reed and Simpson find themselves 2down to Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan through 11 holes in the morning's four-ball.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay are also 1down against International pair Im Sung-jae and Abraham Ancer, though Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler are in control for the USA - 2up through 13 over Marc Leishman and Li Haotong.

Meanwhile, the Adam Scott/Byeong Hun An and Matt Kuchar/Tony Finau matchup is tied after 10 holes.

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