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Too Little Too Late For Internationals At Presidents Cup.

The US team celebrates after its runaway Presidents Cup victory in New Jersey.
The finish was as flat as the week deserved, the 12th Presidents Cup decided three hours and 53 minutes after the final round started courtesy of a missed putt by International Si Woo Kim.

As Kim’s birdie effort slid past the hole on the 15th green, his match against Daniel Berger became dormie, the American 3up with three to play and the overall result beyond doubt.

Kevin Chappell was already in the clubhouse with a half point and that meant that despite Berger not winning, the fact he couldn’t lose was enough to ensure victory for the US.

It was fitting that the matches were decided not with a bang but a whimper, this event one of the more disheartening contests in recent years.

The fact that the Internationals won 7.5 of the 12 Sunday singles points on offer was little consolation and the final 19-11 scoreline didn't do full justice to the US dominance.

Berger and Kim headed down the 16th hole knowing the Cup was decided, the American receiving handshakes and back slaps from Tiger Woods and Fred Couples as confirmation it was all over.

In what can only be described as a peculiarly golf moment, Berger conspired to lose the 16th hole sending the duo down 17 with the overall result beyond doubt but the individual match still undecided.

With 10 of the 12 singles matches still on course when the result finally became official with a halve at 17, what little energy existed at Liberty National evaporated altogether.

There is little doubt the American team which teed up in New Jersey this week is among the strongest in history but that does little to explain the drubbing they handed out.

It would be a stretch to call the event a contest, the leaderboard awash with Red, White and Blue from early on day one.

The scoreline at the end of the Thursday foursomes, 3.5 to 1.5, was as close as the margin got as it blew out to 8-2 after the Friday fourball matches.

Saturday was the clincher, though, the Internationals capitulating completely and giving the US a chance to win the Cup before a ball was struck in the Sunday singles.

That humiliating outcome was avoided when Kevin Chappell generously conceded a par putt to Anirban Lahiri at the 18th hole of the final match, the Internationals claiming only their second full point of the week.

With the 12 singles remaining, the Americans required just one win or two halved matches while the International Team needed to win all 12.

Mathematically that may have been a possibility but it was never realistic and with what little pride they had left the Internationals finally made a fight of it.

Marc Leishman halved a hard fought opening match with Kevin Chappell while Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in the groups behind posted impressive wins over Charley Hoffman and Justin Thomas.

But it was too little too late, amped up rookie Daniel Berger getting the job done in the fourth match of the day, one of just three wins for Team USA in the singles.

Wins for Schwartzel, Oosthuizen, Scott and Vegas helped ease the embarrassment of the final scoreline but it was cold comfort for an International Team that now has two years to search for some answers.

“I think for the International Team, we just need to get more invested in it,” Adam Scott told Steve Sands in his post-round interview.

“The American team get to play every year, which can be tiresome because these weeks are on the back of a long season and everything, but they’ve certainly found their rhythm.

“They’ve found a system and it looks to me like the American team has got very invested in what they’re doing in team events and I think there’s something we can learn from that.

“I don’t know the answer exactly but we need everyone to get a little bit more invested - not just every two years - we need to be into it every year.”

With questions being asked about the future of the event given the one-sided nature of this week’s matches, the Internationals now have two years to take Scott’s advice before the next clash at Royal Melbourne in 2019.

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Rod Morri
About The Author : Rod Morri

Rod is an award-winning golf journalist with more than 20 years experience and has covered everything from major tournaments to junior golf at the local level. Rod began his life in the media as a daily news reporter for News Limited in Sydney.

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