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Despite comeback, U.S. team trails heading to Presidents Cup finale

December 14, 2019

When Tiger Woods announced that he’d be sitting out the Saturday afternoon session at the Presidents Cup, everyone was perplexed. Woods had looked unbeatable on Thursday and Friday. His team, down four points, was in desperate need of a spark. And he’d just sat out the morning session.

When asked why he was sitting, Woods didn’t have a particularly clear answer. “You’ve gotta do what’s best for the team, and I’m getting ready for the singles tomorrow,” he said, then echoed that same non-answer in a subsequent Golf Channel interview. Even opposing Ernie Els admitted his shock that Woods was missing from the lineup. But good players have a way of making their captain look smart, and that’s exactly what the American side did for Woods over the next five hours, winning three points in foursomes matches to draw within two points at the Presidents Cup, where the International team leads 10-8.

Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland won their match on Saturday afternoon.
Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland won their match on Saturday afternoon.
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For the American team, the afternoon’s 3-1 victory somehow felt like a bit of a letdown. Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland earned the first point of the afternoon, taking down star International squad Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay were next to finish, polishing off Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im 2&1. The most disappointing result of the session for the U.S. came from Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, who sprinted out to a 5-up lead through 11 before losing their final three holes of the day to finish with just a half-point against Abraham Ancer and Marc Leishman. The final match of the day was another split: Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau tied with Joaquin Niemann and Ben An when An’s short birdie putt at 18 just slid past the edge of the cup.

Now all that’s left is the finale. All 12 players will tee it up in singles matches on Sunday with the event hanging in the balance. Plenty of questions await: Will the International team’s rookies continue to dominate their U.S. counterparts? Does Captain Woods feel okay? Who will Patrick Reed come up against — and who will caddie for him? The action begins at 10 a.m. local time on Sunday, (6 p.m. ET Saturday).

You can see complete Sunday pairings below.

Presidents Cup Day 4 singles matches (ET)

Match 19:  6:02 p.m. Tiger Woods (USA) vs. Abraham Ancer (INT)

Match 20: 6:13 p.m. Tony Finau (USA) vs. Hideki Matsuyama (INT)

Match 21:  6:24 p.m. Patrick Reed (USA) vs. C.T. Pan (INT)

Match 22: 6:35 p.m. Dustin Johnson (USA) vs. Haotong Li (INT)

Match 23: 6:46 p.m. Bryson DeChambeau (USA) vs. Adam Hadwin (INT)

Match 24: 6:57 p.m.Gary Woodland (USA) vs. Sungjae Im (INT)

Match 25:  7:08 p.m. Patrick Cantlay (USA) vs. Joaquin Nieman (INT)

Match 26: 7:19 p.m. Xander Schauffele (USA) vs. Adam Scott (INT)

Match 27: 7:30 p.m. Byeong Hun An (INT) vs. Webb Simpson (USA)

Match 28: 7:41 p.m. Justin Thomas (USA) vs. Cameron Smith (INT)

Match 29: 7:52 p.m. Matt Kuchar (USA) vs. Louis Oosthuizen (INT)

Match 30: 8:03 p.m. Rickie Fowler (USA) vs. Marc Leishman (INT)