MONTREAL - It was like two separate events played out here at the Royal Montreal Golf Club Sunday, with neither baring much relation to the other.
First, there was the matter of deciding the 2007 Presidents Cup, with the United States in commanding position at the start of Sunday's singles matches. Then there was one match in particular that took on the feel of a national day of reckoning, with Tiger Woods pitted against local favorite Mike Weir of Canada.
It was hard to say which was more important.
The U.S squad needed to win only three singles matches, and clinched the Cup when Nick O'Hern ceded his match against Stewart Cink on the 13th hole for a 6 and 4 decision. At about that time, Woods was making his way to the 17th green, seemingly all of Canada on its feet for Weir, for a birdie attempt to win the match. Woods missed the putt just left, Weir made his birdie, and for a long time no one was talking about the Cup being over.
It was, of course. The U.S. got on the board at 3:33 p.m. EST when Phil Mickelson ended his systematic rout of Vijay Singh. Singh, who'd had moments of brilliance all week (and had eeked out some clutch points), could never mount a charge against Mickelson despite going 1-up after the first hole, when Mickelson made bogey. Mickelson needed only three birdies on his round, combined with two Singh bogeys, to win the match 5 and 4.
Scott Verplank was next. In the day's first match, Verplank got a stern test from South African Rory Sabbatini, who led from the fifth to 11th holes, before making a bogey on No. 12 to bring the match back to all-square. It remained that way till No. 16 (despite Verplank nearly holing out of a bunker for birdie on No. 15), when Verplank made birdie from 25 feet away. Another birdie on 17 sealed the win.
The Internationals, who needed to win 10 of the day's 12 matches, made a run at it and in the end won seven. Ernie Els turned back a charge from Lucas Glover to win 2 and 1. Angel Cabrera dispatched Woody Austin 2 and 1. K.J. Choi defeated Presidents Cup rookie Hunter Mahan 3 and 2.
All told, the U.S. won the Cup 19 1/2 to 14 1/2.
"We had such a great time off the course, and that lead to our great play on the course," said Steve Stricker, who lost his singles match to Geoff Ogilvy, 1-up. "Three years ago I was fighting for my card, so to be a part of this is incredible."
One Blue victory stood out from the pack.
"I had to play my absolute best today," Weir said of his win against Woods. "It was a heck of a match."
Woods seemed off for most of the front nine. He pushed his opening drive into the trees (though he scrambled for par). Weir drew first blood with a birdie on No. 2, and Woods bogeyed the 501-yard par-4 4th to fall two back. Woods then pushed his drive out-of-bounds on the 570-yard par-5 6th and ceded the hole.
But the matched started to turn back to Woods when Weir missed a four-footer for birdie on the 460-yard par-4 10th. Woods hit a wedge approach to two feet on No. 11 to make birdie, and followed that with four straight points, the last coming when Weir, in the water on No. 15, ceded the hole to allow Woods to go 1-up.
That's where it stayed until the 17th. Woods pulled his birdie effort just left of the cup, leaving Weir with a birdie attempt to even the match. It was like the whole golf course stopped to watch Weir sink it.
Woods, who hadn't played the 466-yard par-4 18th all week, took driver and tried to cut it over the pond down the hole's left side. His drive fell short and into the marsh grass. After a drop, Woods left his third shot in the rough short of the green. He needed to hole out for par, and when his chip ended a foot from the hole, he took off his hat and ceded the match to Weir.
"He played really solidly all day," Woods said. "Only bad holes he had were 14 and 15. Other than that, he played great all day, never gave me an opening to get back in the match and I had to try and make birdies."
• Scott Verplank (U.S.) def. Rory Sabbatini (I) 2 and 1
• Ernie Els (I) def. Lucas Glober (U.S.) 2 up
• Phil Mickelson (U.S.) def. Vijay Singh (I) 5 and 4
• Mike Weir (I) def. Tiger Woods (U.S.) 1 up
• Angel Cabrera (I) def. Woody Austin (U.S.) 2 and 1
• Adam Scott (I) def. Zach Johnson (U.S) 2 and 1
• David Toms (U.S. def. Trevlor Immelman (I) 2 up
• Stewart Cink (U.S.) def. Nick O'Hern (I) 6 and 4
• Geoff Ogilvy (I) def. Steve Stricker (U.S.) 1 up
• K.J. Choi (I) def. Hunter Mahan (U.S.) 3 and 2
• Charles Howell III (U.S.) def. Stuart Appleby (I) 2 and 1
• Retief Goosen (I) def. Jim Furyk (U.S.) 2 and 1
October 1, 2007
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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