Presidents Cup: Day 1 Birdies & Bogeys
Who were the winners and losers on Thursday at Muirfield Village? It's time to take a closer look with another edition of birdies and bogeys
October 02, 2013
Birdie: Tiger Woods
There was plenty of speculation over who Woods' teammate would be this week. When the world No. 1 plays like he did on Thursday, though, it really doesn't matter. An energized Woods made three straight birdies on the front nine as he and Matt Kuchar grabbed a lead over Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman they would never relinquish, eventually winning 5 and 4. Woods and Kuchar will play together again on Friday in alternate shot. In other words, expect to see a lot more of. . .
Bogey: Tiger And Kuch's new celebration
It's nice to see Tiger Woods having fun on the course, but is this really how he has to show it? Will Smith invented this move during his “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” days -- which means that he and Kuchar are not only unoriginal, but nearly 20 years late to the party. Can we just stick to fist pumps and butt slaps tomorrow, please?
Birdie: Fred Couples
Captain Couples turned 54 on Thursday and celebrated his birthday with some wily decision making. Some were calling for a headline pairing of Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, but Couples instead paired the youngster with the always-solid Steve Stricker, resulting in a 1-up win. Pairing Tiger with Matt Kuchar also led to a win, and seemed to bring the best out of the world No. 1.
Bogey: Weather delay
Mother Nature has reared her ugly head plenty throughout the 2013 PGA Tour season, and she was at it once again during the Presidents Cup. The Americans were up in five of six matches and all square in the other when the horn blew, halting the U.S.'s momentum and helping the Internationals contain what was almost a runaway lead. On second thought, maybe Mother Nature deserves a birdie for helping to keep this thing interesting.
Birdie: Adam Scott
Partner Hideki Matsuyama may have produced the tap-in birdie on the final hole to scratch out a half point for this International pairing, but that was the least he could do after Scott carried him all day. The reigning Masters champ made six birdies and holed a flop shot for eagle on No. 15 to offset a back-nine birdie binge by Bill Haas. If the International team is to pull off an upset this week, big things are needed from its biggest star. On Day 1, the Aussie more than proved he's up to the task.
Birdie: Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth
The father-son pairing of Stricker and Spieth (not really, but there are 26 years between them), was perhaps unexpected, but the two vindicated Fred Couples' decision. Stricker birdied two of the first four holes to open a 1-up lead. From there, the pair birdied nine of the next 11 holes to overcome a charging Brendon de Jonge, who made eight birdies. And when Spieth showed some 20-year-old nerves with a wet tee shot on No. 18, his veteran partner bailed him out with a testing up-and-down from a buried lie in the bunker to seal a win and keep the U.S. in front heading into Friday.
Bogey: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson and his anointed successor, Keegan Bradley, were first paired successfully during last year's Ryder Cup and never shy from lavishing praise on one another. But after racing to a 2-up lead through seven holes over Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, the pair managed only one more birdie between them and stumbled to a 2-and-1 loss.
Bogey: Muirfield Village's barber
On Tuesday, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen were treated to haircuts in the International team room and they weren't pleased with the results. Hey, you get what you pay for. At least the South African pairing didn't let a bad trip to the barber affect their play on Thursday. The two showed up to the first tee wearing wigs to cover up their new, butchered looks and then knocked off Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
Birdie: The Unheralded Duo
With so much talk about the other American pairings, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson teed off last on Day 1 without much fanfare. But they weren't off the course last, making quick work of Branden Grace and Richard Sterne. Dufner and Johnson birdied the first three holes and didn't make a bogey on their way to a 5-and-3 victory. They might not be the flashiest pair on the U.S. side, but they might be the best, running their record to 3-1-0 dating back to last year's Ryder Cup.
Bogey: Ernie Els
The 43-year-old Els is fast fading from golf's elite, and that was apparent at Muirfield Village. International captain Nick Price paired the South African with Brendon de Jonge to help settle down the Presidents Cup rookie, but it was Els who relied on de Jonge's good play. Els made a clutch birdie on the 17th hole to send the match to the final hole, but it was his only birdie of the day, and it came a hole after his short miss sunk them to dormie 2 down.
Birdie: Jason Day
Playing in the opening match, Day delivered the International team's first point with the most clutch putt of the day. The Muirfield Village member used some local knowledge to coax in a 20-footer for birdie on the final hole to steal a win from Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker, who had led for almost the entire round. Wait, we thought the U.S. was supposed to have a home-course advantage?