Americans trail for the first time in 14 years | Inquirer Sports

Americans trail for the first time in 14 years

/ 04:10 AM December 13, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—Tiger Woods lightly pumped his fist with another birdie. He raised his hands over his head in applause to salute a brilliant play by Justin Thomas that led to another hole won. He thoroughly enjoyed his return to competition in the Presidents Cup.

His match won, Woods took the radio and inserted the ear piece as he resumed his role as US captain.

And there was little else to cheer.

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Ernie Els and his inspired International team won the day, and won it big.

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Els got solid performances from Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen and remarkable play from his rookies that led to a 4-1 lead after the opening session of fourballs on Thursday.

“I didn’t envision 4-1, no,” Els said.

It was the first time the International team won the opening session since 2005, which also was the last time it led after any session in an event the Americans have won 10 out of 12 times, including the last seven in a row.

Woods assembled the strongest US team ever for the Presidents based on the world ranking. The first playing captain in 25 years, he inserted himself in the first match and made six birdies, the most of anyone at Royal Melbourne.

When it was over, the US team found itself in foreign territory—trailing for the first time in 14 years.

“We have to earn this cup,” Woods said, perhaps a reminder that history means little inside the ropes. “Just because we lost the session doesn’t mean the Cup’s over. There’s a long way to go, a lot of points available. The guys will regroup, and we’ll come out tomorrow ready to go.”

That was a message Els preached to his team after a dynamic performance. —AP

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TAGS: Golf, Justin Thomas, Sports, Tiger Woods

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