CHARLOTTE, NC — Jordan Spieth capped a perfect week at the Presidents Cup, and the Americans racked up nine straight wins against an international team exhausted by defectors to Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf.
The Internationals showed a lot of struggle. They just don’t have a trophy to show for it.
That remains in the hands of an American team that clinched a record win over Europe in last year’s Ryder Cup.
Max Homa bounced back from 3 down by winning four straight holes and then held off Tom Kim for a 1-up win that gave him a 4-0 week in his Presidents Cup debut.
Xander Schauffele provided the winning point when he made a 6-foot par putt for a 1-up win over Corey Conners on the 18th hole. That sparked an hour-long celebration just to await the final result.
It was 17½-12½, not quite the loss of Liberty National in 2017 when the Americans last played in front of their home crowd. Unlike the Ryder Cup, which attracts thousands of flag-waving European fans, the international team has no fan base to unite behind a continental flag, let alone a tour.
US Captain Davis Love III gave credit to international captain Trevor Immelman for having to assemble his team after Open champion Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann were among the latest to join the rival LIV Golf series.
This was a mismatch. The Internationals still made a game out of it, and at one point the games were close enough that a shocker at Quail Hollow was still possible. But they needed everything to walk properly, and it didn’t.
“Trevor and his team did an incredible job of accommodating the situation,” Love said.
Love had placed all 12 players in the top 25 in the world rankings and, like last year’s Ryder Cup in Whistling Straits, most played that way.
“We really don’t have to do much,” Love said. “All we have to do is don’t screw it up.”
Conners and Taylor Pendrith, the only Canadians on the team, were the only players not to contribute a point. Conners made three putts from 25 feet on the 17th with a chance to level the match, and on the 18th he hit a bunker from the fairway.
Spieth was making putts from across Quail Hollow for a 4-and-3 win over Cameron Davis that kept the Internationals – who needed their biggest Sunday individual effort – from gaining momentum early.
Spieth became only the sixth player to win all five matches in the Presidents Cup and to win all four of his team’s matches with Justin Thomas. He is the first player since Branden Grace in 2015 to win the Presidents Cup 5-0-0; the last American player to do so was Jim Furyk in 2011.
Spieth, a three-time major champion and former world No. 1 player, first qualified for US teams when he was 20. But he had never won a singles game – 0-3 in the Presidents Cup, 0-3-1 in the Ryder Cup.
And then after two holes 2 he fell down before flipping it in a big way.
“I was more nervous than I should have been because I wanted to get that monkey off my back,” Spieth said. “When you get off early on a Sunday, they look for red on the board. And it feels good to offer it.”
Thomas tried to join him, but he lost to Si Woo Kim in a match that came down to 10-foot birdie putts on the last hole.
Doesn’t matter. When Patrick Cantlay whipped Adam Scott and Tony Finau rallied from 2 down to beat Pendrith, the result was as inevitable as usual.
The Americans improved to 12-1-1 in a streak that began in 1994. Their only defeat came at Royal Melbourne in 1998 and a draw in South Africa in 2003.
The Internationals fell 8-2 after the first two days with a team of eight rookies, half of whom replaced players like Smith, Niemann and Louis Oosthuizen who were ineligible after the PGA Tour ruled them out for signing with the lucrative rival tour had blocked .
One of those rookies, Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz, defeated world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler to go a week unbeaten 2-0-1. Another was 20-year-old Tom Kim, the fresh face of these Games, who brought hope to the Internationals on Saturday night with a performance as big as his personality.
For four days the Americans were too strong and too deep.
The next stop for the Presidents Cup is Royal Montreal in 2024. For the majority of this American team, they will take more momentum to the Ryder Cup in Rome next year. The Americans have not won a Ryder Cup away from home since 1993.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/34665519/team-usa-continues-dominance-presidents-cup-downs-international-team-again Team USA continues dominance at Presidents Cup, downs International team again