Zach Johnson was one of the rookies on the American squad who played well, scoring two points. Presidents Cup notebook: Rookies rise up at Royal Montreal Golf Club

MONTREAL - Rookies made the difference on the United States Presidents Cup team.

Four Americans made their Presidents Cup debut this week: Woody Austin, Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan. Two more - Geoff Ogilvy and Rory Sabbatini - were playing their first Cup for the International side.

The Americans combined to win seven matches this week, whereas Sabbatini and Ogilvy combined to record one win.

Austin was the top rookie point-getter, with two and a half. Glover, Johnson and Mahan each won two points.

Stewart Cink's hot putter

Stewart Cink had one of the hottest putters of the week, and that proficiency with the flat stick didn't stop during his Sunday singles match.

Cink, whose win clinched the Presidents Cup for the American side, started his match against Australian Nick O'Hern with five straight birdies, and added two more later.

Charles Howell III also had a hot putter: He birdied five straight on the back nine in his 2 and 1 win against Stuart Appleby, and had eight total on his round.

Vexing foursomes

The U.S. took 10 1/2 of the possible 11 points that were up for grabs in foursome matches, a rout that left the Internationals shaking their heads.

"We just didn't have it in the foursomes," Vijay Singh said.

Some have claimed that the Internationals are not used to the alternate shot format of foursomes.

Singh said he would recommend that Tuesdays before PGA Tour events be akin to foursome day, a way for International players to bone up on this format before San Francisco in 2009.

Something about Down Under

The U.S. has won five of the seven Presidents Cups so far, but this was the first it won on foreign soil.

In fact, the Internatinal Team's two best performances - a win and a draw - came in the Southern Hemisphere, in South Africa in 2003 and Australia in 1998.

"You've got to read something into that," suggested South Afrian Ernie Els. "Maybe we should have a bit more say in where our home matches go to. You know, maybe that helps."

The Presidents Cup in ... Prague?

Gary Player sees the Presidents Cup as the anti-Ryder Cup, and look for him in the future to push for the event to be held in some of the father reaches of the world.

"We should be going into places that are really going to promote golf," he said. "I think we should go into China. I think we should go into India, and I think we should be going into Eastern Europe. I really think that would be my great dream to see that happen."

The Aquaman and his goggles

Woody "Aquaman" Austin - the nickname coined by Phil Mickelson - hasn't missed a chance to ham up his little swim in the water hazard on No. 14.

And he admits that he's new nickname has already sunk in. "Trust me, for the last, I don't now, 48, 50-some hours, I've been taking a big enough ribbing."

So he might be starting to look for ways to downplay the whole thing, right? Well, when Barbara Nicklaus approached Woody on No. 13 Sunday with a pair of scuba goggles she'd bought for him, and had a simple request that he briefly wear them when he trudged up the next hole, Austin obliged.

Walking up the 14th fairway toward the green, he donned them. He left the goggles on for some time, leaving some to wonder whether he'd attempt to putt out with them on.

The Ryder Cup mystery

It's a fundamental question: Why didn't the Internationals do better this week? It was said often: On paper, they were the better team.

Contrast that to the Ryder Cup Matches, in which the U.S. has struggled mightily in recent years.

Singh has a theory on why the U.S. can play better in the Presidents Cup: They know who they're playing.

"I think they are very comfortable with us," Singh said. "We play on the U.S. Tour. Most of our friends are Americans. You know, the guys on the other side, we go out, we play practice rounds with those guys.

"You know, when they play against the European side, they don't even know half the side, how they play or interact."

What, no champagne?

There were no corks popped over the American squad's win Sunday. The drink of choice? Cans of Coors Light.

Most arrived with beer in hand to the team's press conference following the awarding of the Presidents Cup, the silver cans sitting prominently along the wide table. Tiger Woods was the only player who kept his beer underneath the table, and he stole only one pull on it during the entire press conference.

October 1, 2007

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