The President’s Cup
If you’re a real golf fan, then, like me, you didn’t really have much of a weekend.
The President’s Cup, a bi-annual men’s golf match between U.S. players and the world (save Europe, for which we reserve the also bi-annual Ryder Cup), was on for a good 16 hours over the weekend, and I spent much of my time glued to the tube.
In the end, it was the U.S. who retained the cup, 19 1/2 to 14 1/2, and fittingly, it was Woods’ who scored the final point that tipped the balance to keep the cup in U.S. hands.
In terms of the weekend performance, Saturday was owned by Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, but it was Stricker who carried Woods much of the day. Stricker simply couldn’t hardly miss a putt at Harding Park in San Francisco.
But it was Woods who dropped a breathtaking putt on 17 (reminscent of that putt in the 2005 Masters, the one for which Nike should, and I’m sure still is, paying Woods as the Nike logo turned so slowly to drop into the cup) to bring the match to even.
Then, Woods hit a precision 4-iron on the par 5 18th which once again made amateur golfers jaws drop around the world. Woods and Stricker won a match they’d been trailing for most of the day.
On the International team, Tim Clark proved a standout, particularly on Sunday, when he whooped Zach Johnson 4 and 3 featuring 8 birdies, even as Johnson played extremely well and birdied 5 of 6 starting on the back nine — Clark was simply playing that much better.
Japan’s 18 year-old phenom Ryo Ishikawa (trailed by 80+ Japanese photographers) also played outstanding golf, and was the youngest player ever to start in a President’s Cup. His young age defied his performance, and in the Sunday singles match, he ended up taking 49 year-old Kenny Perry.
Perry, as the announcers reminded us, had three children (including his caddying son, Justin) older than Ishikawa. To which I shouted at the TV, “Yes, but can he play golf like him??” Perry lost 2-1 to Ishikawa.
よりよい運次の時間。(That’s Babel Fish’s Japanese translation of “Better luck next time”)
On the American side, aside from Woods (who delivered the goods consistently by going 5-o for his 2009 President’s Cup matches) and Stricker, it was second-ranked Phil Mickelson who tore up the course, particularly in his always stellar chipping and now back-to-par putting. Mickelson’s putting had been haunting him for some time, but he was definitely in the zone for much of the weekend.
But probably the best of the event was the spirit and purpose. None of the players or captains are compensated for the event. Instead, they contribute the net revenues to their favorite charities and, since its inception in 1994, the Presidents Cup has generated more than $17M for charities worldwide.
The cameraderie on and off the course, and even between the teams and captains Greg Norman and Fred Couples, was also self-evident, and allegedly the U.S. men’s team also got into some pretty heated ping pong matches off the course during the evenings.
To all the players — from the U.S., Fiji, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Columbia, and Argentina — I offer up a personal thanks for a dramatic weekend of extraordinary golf.
Go enjoy your families and your respite from the course, and we rabid golf fans will wind down our own season and go into our winter hibernation and golf depression, and do our level best to pass the time playing Tiger Woods on the X-Box 360 and watching reruns of “The Big Break.”
Me, I can’t wait for the SBS Championship the first week of January in Kapalua, Maui!