by Jeff Skinner
There was plenty of excitement and drama at The Presidents Cup on a long, long Saturday. Both teams fought hard in each and every match on a day that seemed more like The Open Championship than a day at The Presidents Cup. The U.S. team dominated the morning foursomes played on a sunny Royal Melbourne course. They won four of the five alternate shot matches with Tiger Woods finally earning his first victory of the week.
But the weather turned in the afternoon as a steady rain soaked the course all afternoon to the point where some greens had standing water and needed to have the squeegees broken out. The Internationals looked to be taking advantage of the weather as the greens slowed down and they were poised to make a comeback
The Internationals were making it a match as they took the first three matches of the afternoon fourball matches. Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel finally defeated the sizzling team of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. The duo of Kyung-tae Kim and Y.E. Yang led from the first hole to defeat Woods and Dustin Johnson. Hometown boy Geoff Ogilvy and K.J. Choi came back from a 1 down deficit to better Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar.
At that point, Team Norman had run off three wins and Norman had to thinking his charges were staging their comeback. But Hunter Mahan and Bill Haas spoiled his dream as they topped the team of Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley. This was the most exciting match of the day as Day poured in a long birdie putt on seventeen which looked to have won the hole and extend the match to eighteen. But Mahan wasn’t about to let Jason have his “day.” Mahan followed by sinking his 20 foot birdie to win the match 2 & 1. Mahan screamed in joy and slammed his putter to the ground in dramatic fashion as the U.S. put down the International’s comeback right there.
The last match of the day saw Nick Watney card four birdies and lead Jim Furyk to a 1 up victory over Adam Scott and Ernie Els. That left the soaked Americans with a 13-9 lead over the Internationals going into Sunday’s singles. Norman and his troops will need a Brookline type comeback if they are to wrestle the Presidents Cup Trophy from Fred Couples and his men.