The Presidents Cup matches ended Sunday the way they always seem to go — an American celebration after Tiger Woods delivered the winning point.
Woods’ back flared up on him again in the final hour at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. But Woods hung on to beat Richard Sterne, 1 up, to give the Americans the 18 points they needed to win the Presidents Cup for the fifth consecutive time.
It was the third consecutive Presidents Cup in which Woods won the cup-clinching match — all three with Fred Couples as the captain.
“It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, whose 4-1 record was the best of any player. “We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.”
The biggest surprise was not so much the outcome — United States 181/2, International 151/2 — but that the matches ended without going to Monday.
Rain interrupted the matches all week and made the course Jack Nicklaus built so soft that it was mere target practice for the players. The fourth session of foursomes had to be completed Sunday morning because of the delays. That might have been the end of International hopes.
The Americans took a 14-8 lead into the final round and needed to win only four of the 12 singles matches to keep the gold trophy.
Even though the Americans clinched a tie with more than an hour to go, it took until Woods in the ninth of 12 matches to secure the win.
In the Seve Cup matches in France, Italy’s Francesco Molinari beat England’s Chris Wood, 3 and 2, in the last finals match to secure Continental Europe’s 15-13 victory over Great Britain and Ireland. … China’s Shanshan Feng eagled the par-5 18th hole after her second shot hit the pin for a one-stroke victory in the smog-affected Reignwood Classic, the LPGA Tour’s first tournament in Beijing. Feng closed with a 5-under-par 68, matching the final round by runner-up Stacy Lewis of the United States. … New Jersey’s Matthew Mattare, 27, topped the 64 match-player qualifiers in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, shooting a 2-under 69 to finish stroke play at 5-under 136 in Birmingham, Ala. … Reinstated amateur Julia Potter shot a 3-over 74 to top stroke-play qualifying in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur in Asheville, N.C.