Tiger simply perfect

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Associated Press
Monday, October 12, 2009
— The two women in pink who ran onto a green to preach their anti-war message weren’t quite sure what an International team was or why so many people were standing around just waiting to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods.

They did know why they were there Sunday.

“It’s the Presidents Cup,” said one, her hands cuffed behind her. “We need our president to stop the wars.”

There weren’t any presidents hanging around Harding Park to watch the final day of play, though former President George H.W. Bush did come a few days earlier, and there were rumors President Barack Obama would stop by. But give the women credit for knowing what the event was, even if they couldn’t stick around to see who won.

For the record it was the United States again, and this one was closed out so early that Woods wasn’t even sure it was over when he finished his thrashing of Y.E. Yang for the clinching point. Woods won on the 13th green, capping a perfect week and giving him a measure of revenge for the PGA Championship even though he had insisted it wasn’t that at all.

Woods got a few hugs, everybody traded some high-fives, and then it was on to the team room to hang with Michael Jordan and watch the San Francisco 49ers on the big screen. The celebration was as subdued as the competition, another reminder that this wasn’t exactly the Ryder Cup.

The International side didn’t seem terribly crushed by it all, maybe because it expected it. If anything, the International players seemed happy just to spend some time with captain Greg Norman and do something golfers rarely get a chance to do — bond together as a team.

“We get to hang out with the boys and ride the team bus and meet all the other wives that we don’t know,” Australian Geoff Ogilvy said. “We’ve had lots of fun this week.”

The Americans had their share of fun, too, though there was a bit more of a sense of urgency to win the thing because they were playing at home where they had never lost and had the greatest player in the world on their side. They also had a flag and a country to play for, while their opponents came from places scattered around the globe.

“It’s a little more us versus them attitude at the Ryder Cup,” U.S. assistant captain Jay Haas said. “A lot of the international players live in the United States. They have home bases here.”

Indeed, Woods got to pump his fist just once all week, on Saturday morning when he made a crucial putt on the way to a comeback win with his new BFF, Steve Stricker. Woods, who had never shined before in any team competition, went 5-0 on the week, teaming with Stricker for four wins before dusting off the guy who had come from behind to steal a major championship from him in Minnesota.

“He got me there and I figured I could get him here,” Woods said. “It certainly was not exactly the same atmosphere, but then it still was an important point.”

Woods, of course, would trade every point he won this week for the Wanamaker trophy he lost at the PGA Championship. His career has always been focused on winning major championships, and anything else that comes along is just an added bonus.

That includes a Presidents Cup that came at the end of a long comeback season and was Woods’ eighth tournament in 11 weeks.

But while the Presidents Cup may have lacked something in intensity, it didn’t lack for good golf. Woods played well all week as did Phil Mickelson (4-0-1).

Still, it came during football season on a chilly San Francisco weekend more suited toward that sport. And it had all the drama of the Raiders playing the Giants, with the U.S. team winning the first four singles matches Sunday to build an insurmountable lead with Woods still on the course.

Afterward, the U.S. players posed for a team photo and spread the credit around. They liked each other, liked Jordan, and really liked the laid-back leadership of Fred Couples.

Couples insisted all week long that this wasn’t rocket science, and all he tried to do was match players so they could play their best.

He did, however, have a secret strategy for Woods, who carried it off to perfection.

“It sounds stupid,” Couples said, “but we needed him to go 5-0.”

Last updated: 11:45 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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