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Emotional Tiger leads celebrations as USA pull off Presidents Cup comeback

No side had ever rallied to win on the last day after trailing for three days.

Captain: Tiger went unbeaten in his three matches.
Captain: Tiger went unbeaten in his three matches.
Image: AAP/PA Images

TIGER WOODS’ UNITED States produced a stunning turnaround to deny the Internationals a first Presidents Cup in 21 years, dominating the singles on a tense final day that went to the wire at Royal Melbourne.

Matt Kuchar was the hero, with his winning putt on the 17th in the penultimate match enough to ensure victory, sparking wild celebrations from playing-captain Woods, who set the tone by getting the first point on the board.

It was a crushing loss for Ernie Els’ young Internationals who led for the first three days of the matchplay event.

They went into Sunday’s 12 singles matches with a 10-8 lead but Patrick Reed and Dustin Johnson were among those racing to big early leads as the scoreboard became swathed in US red.

Webb Simpson beat South Korea’s An Byeong-hun to guarantee the US a share of the Cup at 15-12 with three matches still in play.

Australian Cameron Smith grabbed a point by beating Justin Thomas, ensuring a nailbiting finale with Kuchar’s birdie to go one-up on 17 enough to secure at least half a point and ensure there was no way back for Els’ team.

“I trusted all my 11 guys. I trusted them implicitly. I told them from the very get go. They went out there and got the points we needed. We fought,” said Woods.

“Even the points we lost, we were making them earn every one of them, and this Cup wasn’t going to be given to us. We had to go earn it, and we did.”

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No side before had rallied to win on the last day after trailing for three days, further cementing the reputation of Woods, who went undefeated in his three matches.

It was the United States’ 11th victory in 13 editions of the event. One was drawn with the lone International win coming in 1998, also at Royal Melbourne.

- © AFP 2019

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