The U.S. team, with laid-back Freddie Couples at the helm, won the tenth edition of the Presidents Cup over Nick Price's International Team, but the golf was at times upstaged by the weather. Why? Perhaps it was The Curse.
The (sub)urban legend around Dublin is that the Muirfield Village Golf Club is built on land that contains a Native American burial ground. These rumored burial grounds may or may not host the remains of Shateyaronyah, a real-life Wyandot chief known by the unlikely moniker Leatherlips. According to the legend, the fact that wealthy non-natives now smack a little white ball around on this sacred ground has angered the Wyandot spirits who express their rage by bringing rains down on the Memorial Tournament more years than not and now on the Presidents Cup, as well. Whether it was the "Curse of Leatherlips" or a simple meteorological aberration, the Presidents Cup and Muirfield Village got hit with nearly 2" of rain this weekend.
While those of us looking forward to seeing the pros play a firm and fast Muirfield course (for once) were deprived of that spectacle, those who like birdies certainly got a great show as the soft conditions and the lift/clean/place rule let the players shoot right at the pins. This week, HtL looks at the Presidents Cup that was and other happenings in golf.
Hole #1: Team U.S.A. "Hangs On" to Win Cup
After the fourth round, which concluded Sunday morning, the outcome of the matches was all but certain. Still, the International Team managed to win enough matches early to make things interesting. In the ninth singles match of the day and with a worsening back, Tiger Woods finally clinched victory by halving the final hole with Richard Sterne to win 1-up. The U.S. Team ultimately won 18.5 to 15.5. [Link]
Hole #2: Tiger's Back and Muirfield's Mud
Playing more than two rounds of golf on Saturday coupled with days of walking on soft ground may have sparked a recurrence of Tiger's back issues. Luckily, he will have a good deal of downtime coming up to mend his ailing back. The golf course at Muirfield Village will itself be recovering from the huge crowds that turned crosswalks and many rough areas into muddy quagmires. [Link]
Hole #3: Sammy Was Star of Day One
In a quirky twist on Thursday, U.S. Assistant Captain Davis Love III rescued a baby squirrel who had fallen out of the tree. The apparently friendly rodent rode around with Davis and other members of the Team U.S.A. entourage during the day. "Sammy the Squirrel" was reportedly released Friday morning at the same tree where Love found him/her. [Link]
Hole #4: Team Fashion Extends to W.A.G.s
From the red boots sported by the American women to Lindsey Vonn sightings, wives and girlfriends garnered almost as much attention as the players at the Presidents Cup. [Link] At one point on Sunday, Amy Mickelson, aided by Matt Kuchar, pushed Lindsey Vonn's cart up a rain-soaked hill. If only their significant others could get along so well. [Bonus Link]
Hole #5: The Smogs of Beijing
Shanshan Feng eagled the par-5 18th hole on Sunday to win the Reignwood LPGA Classic. The LPGA's first tournament in Beijing was marred by a haze of smog that caused a three-hour delay before the final round and prompted several competitors to wear surgical-style masks while they played. [Link]
Hole #6: The Last Seve Trophy?
The Continentals won a narrow 15-13 victory over Great Britain & Ireland to claim their first Seve Trophy title since 2000 in what could be the final staging of the competition. The four-day match play event is seen by some to be an important tuneup for the Ryder Cup and perhaps one reason for the recent Euro dominance in that event. But the lack of a sponsor going forward means the future is unclear for the Seve Trophy. [Link]
Hole #7: Have Flag, Will Fly
In a photo from Sunday, American Captain Fred Couples seemed nonplussed as a female streaker raced past him. Wearing only pasties and a thong, she ran a fair distance on the course before disappearing into the woods with Dublin P.D. in hot pursuit. WARNING: This could be considered NSFW. [Link]
Hole #8: One Year Out
With the Presidents Cup now behind us, is it too early to start thinking about next year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland? U.S. Captain Tom Watson doesn't think so. He is writing a blog on his experiences, recently noting that we are now one year out from that competition. [Link]
Hole #9: It's a Team Sport But...
The strongest individual results of the Presidents Cup were put up by Tiger Woods, who won four points for the Americans with a 4-1-0 record. Jason Day and Graham DeLaet of the Internationals each won 3.5 points with 3-1-1 records. Both Richard Sterne (despite a strong showing against Tiger) and Branden Grace, who were paired together much of the week, failed to win a single point for the Internationals, going 0-4-0. [Link]