November 19, 2011
Saturday was supposed to be the day for the Internationals. Down 7-5 to the Americans, it was shaping up to be a dirty, wet, muddy day of golf, perfect for the non-American player. Problem was, none of the United States players would let up.
Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, the surprise of this Presidents Cup, kept their impressive run going, beating a veteran group of Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy in the morning foursomes. Hunter Mahan and David Toms bounced back from their loss on Friday. Tiger Woods snagged his first point of these matches with a win alongside Dustin Johnson. And of course, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk took their record in these matches to 3-0-0.
It was 11-6 before the four-ball began Saturday afternoon and seemed like things were out of hand for Greg Norman's bunch. That was, until Webb and Bubba couldn't keep the magic going. Point for the Internationals. And the Swagger Twins of Tiger and Dustin couldn't get a putt to drop. Another point for Norman's guys. Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker were the third straight American team to lose their afternoon match. Things were starting to shape up for the Internationals.
But the last two teams for the United States wouldn't fall.
The first was arguably the moment of the match, when Mahan and Bill Haas found themselves on the 17th hole 2-up with a halve on the hole to earn the full point. Jason Day drained a bomb for birdie in the rain that had the Internationals fired up. A win there and the match would go to the 18th and the half point could do wonders for the Internationals comeback. But Mahan, the dog of the 2010 Ryder Cup for chubbing a chip shot in the final match for the Americans, had a chance to end the match right there on the 17th green. He stood over his slippery 18-footer for birdie, struck it, watched it take the break, and as it disappeared, flipped his putter on the ground, confidently took his hat off and walked directly to the Internationals to shake their hands and tell them the match was done. Game over, thanks for coming.
Jim Furyk and Nick Watney calmly took care of business on the 18th green in the final match of Saturday, and the Americans sit on a 13-9 lead with singles left to play.
Saturday could have gotten away from the Americans. It didn't, and it was a total team effort. It's nice when that happens.