Woods proves the winning difference

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Presidents Cup in Melbourne yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Tiger Woods celebrates winning the Presidents Cup in Melbourne yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Older racegoers will remember Kotare Chief, who led all the way to win an Auckland Cup, or Vo Rogue, who used to race to a long lead and try to hang on.

Everyone remembers Kiwi coming from a long last to win the 1983 Melbourne Cup.

On Saturday night at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, captains Tiger Woods (United States) and Ernie Els (Internationals) played strategies as diverse as the methods of these racehorses.

Trailing 10-8 and with his first pick for the singles, Tiger Woods wanted to be Vo Rogue. Get to the front early, establish a long lead and hang on.

Els, in contrast, responded by holding his best players to the end, hoping the combination of the lead and those players late in the tournament would result in a historic repeat of the 1998 win.

American Patrick Reed, the villain of the piece, did his job, playing the first seven holes six under par and leading six up.

Woods himself led and was up two early against the terrier from Mexico, Abraham Ancer.

At the rear, South African Louis Oosthuizen, playing inspired golf, got to three up after six and anchor man Australian Marc Leishman, in a form turnaround, did the job for his captain.

Haotong Li had a caddie who had never done the job before and against American Dustin Johnson was a lost cause.

However CT Pan, who has impressed everyone, started the fightback birdieing four holes to get back to only two down, Reed and Pan’s best ball was 11-under after 13 holes, scintillating play on this very difficult course.

Woods, however, holed a shot from 3m for par at 14, Ancer missed and that one was gone. Step one of Tiger’s plan completed.

Hideki Matsuyama, apparently invincible four up after 10, lost four holes in a row to birdies from Tony Finau, leaving that match in the balance.

When Finau produced a tied match from four down, it appeared the Internationals’ fate was sealed.

The Internationals had to win all of the three tied matches and unfortunately Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler both birdied the 17th hole to close out victory for the Americans.

Woods’ dominance over Ernie Els as a player continued in his role as captain of the United States team.

His strategies, his choice of pairings and his personal performance was the difference between the teams in the end.

 - Dunedin golf personality John Evans provided a column during the Presidents Cup


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