The Presidents Cup: Saturday's Winners and Losers
November 20, 2011
BIRDIE: Phil Mickelson
He improved to 3-0 with Jim Furyk and then took a seat for afternoon four-balls. An important part of the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup is for players to know when they might need a breather and then admit it. Mickelson, 41 and diagnosed last year with psoriatic arthritis, told assistant captain Jay Haas Saturday morning, "I'd have been jumping out of my skin if I had to sit out a session earlier in my career." This time, he was ready to jump on the bandwagon for teammates. He deserved the rest after playing in 32 straight Presidents Cup matches and scoring for the 17th time in his last 18 outings.
BOGEY: Robert Allenby
Lots of flak has been given to Tiger Woods over the first two days for not scoring for his captain, but Melbourne-born Allenby losing his foursomes match Saturday morning with Geoff Ogilvy left him 0-3 when his local knowledge was supposed to be a boon for the Internationals. Often times, knowing where to hit it doesn't matter if you don't know where it's going.
BIRDIE: Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel
The South Africans managed to stop the runaway freight train that had been the Bubba Watson-Webb Simpson express with a 2-and-1 decision in afternoon four-ball play. It helped that the Americans seemed to run out of gas, and the home team stumbled a bit down the stretch, but credit the Internationals here for taking advantage of the opening.
BOGEY: The 18th fairway and rough
Sandy, scrubby Royal Melbourne inexplicably ends with a thick rough-lined finishing hole, stifling the chance for thrilling match conclusions. The large, undulating green on what is normally the West Course's second hole is one of the toughest on the property to hit shots close to, making the wedge-out rough unnecessary. Especially at otherwise sublime Royal Melbourne.
BIRDIE: The drenched 40
Saturday afternoon's weather was dreadful. A cold rain fell as the four-ball matches proceeded, and yet the golf was quite good on a difficult track. Players and caddies (40 guys) get kudos here. Everyone was giving it his all in the "exhibition," and, thus, all the matches were close.
BOGEY: The Presidents Cup
An event that aspires to the same prestige as the Ryder Cup needed at least a close competition to capture some mainstream attention. You'd think that the Internationals could have managed as much seeing how the event was returning to Royal Melbourne, the site of the lone U.S. loss in 1998. Instead, barring a Brookline-type Sunday, the U.S. is headed for a fourth-straight one-sided win, pushing the Presidents Cup on the brink of irrelevance.
BIRDIE: Ben Crenshaw
It's funny how everytime a team competition features one team deep in a hole heading into the final day, we're forced to invoke the remarkable rally by Crenshaw's Ryder Cup team in 1999. His contributions to the game include two Masters title, one of the great putting strokes in history, and an impressive portfolio of course design work alongside Bill Coore. And yet it might be his borderline-incoherent ramblings a dozen years ago that will go down as Crenshaw's greatest legacy of all.