The United States won their seventh consecutive Presidents Cup over the International team on Sunday even as the final margin of eight points disguised the one-sided nature of the event. A Sunday rally by the beleaguered Internationals, who won six of the 12 singles matches and halved three others, allowed the visitors to avoid a record defeat and escape Liberty National with a little pride.
The U.S., led by unbeaten Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, prevailed 19-11 to claim the cup for the 10th time in 12 stagings of the biennial event. The record winning margin is 11-1/2 points by the Americans in 2000.
The result left the International team searching for ways to make the event more competitive heading into the 2019 installment at Royal Melbourne in Australia. But no matter what they had done it would not have been enough to stop the home team this time.
“It’s tough to be on the receiving end of another loss for all of us,” International captain Nick Price said after presiding over his third straight defeat at the helm. “This is a juggernaut of a U.S. team. They’re an overpowering team.”
The American team certainly impressed Donald Trump, the first sitting U.S. President to present the cup to the winning captain. “I’ve been watching this from the beginning, and I have to say our team U.S.A., wow, did you play well,” Trump said.
Winning captain Steve Stricker concurred.
“U.S.A. team golf is in a great spot,” Stricker said of his team, which has an average age of less than 32 years.
“Looks like they could be around together for a long time. They played well all year long and they came here with a lot of confidence. They continued it right through this tournament here.”
The International team of players from the rest of the world, excluding Europe, started the final day needing to sweep every match to snatch victory. A touch embarrassed after performing miserably in the foursomes and four-ball matches, the Internationals performed much better in man-to-man play on Sunday, though it was too little, too late.
“It was really weird being out there today, knowing there was no chance of losing,” said world number one Johnson. Among the International winners in singles were former world number ones Jason Day and Adam Scott, as well as Hideki Matsuyama, currently the team’s top-ranked player.
American losers included the past three major champions, Jordan Spieth, who has not won a singles match in either Presidents or Ryder Cup events, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka. Spieth won his first four matches this week, but he still copped a friendly ribbing at the winning team’s press conference. “I’ve got a question. How does it feel to be 0-5 in singles,” Johnson asked Spieth.