Down under, the Americans retained the Presidents Cup in the ninth biennial event, held at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Snoozefest. And the worst part is, no one is trying to hide it.
Johnny Miller put it best midway through Sunday’s single matches, “These guys out here are all friends. This isn’t the Ryder Cup.”
In that honor, here is all anyone needs to know about the 2011 Presidents Cup:
- Aaron Baddeley is the best worst player on Tour — The Australian has a stellar short game which was on display in Melbourne this week. A great shot around the green prompted commentator Johnny Miller to say that if Baddeley could get his long shots locked in, he could be “one of the best players in the world.” Or at least more than two wins in five years.
- Home field advantage turns out not to be advantageous — There was much to do about the importance of local knowledge at Royal Melbourne, presumably a major benefit for the International Team with almost half the players from Australia (five total, three players qualified and two were captain’s picks). Turns out the course spun everyone into amateurs quickly, no prejudice. In addition to the challenging greens — quick and very difficult to hold — 25 mph winds made Friday an ugly round of golf for most.
- Tiger Woods Update — Another hot storyline coming into Presidents Cup week was the controversial captain’s pick by Fred Couples (made controversial by Couples declaring his intention to pick Woods so early). Everyone knows how terrible Tiger has played this year. But the U.S. Team was on board with the pick, and despite some ugly playing, Tiger eked out a point with Dustin Johnson during the Saturday foursomes, and showed some old Tiger spirit in a big win over Aaron Baddeley Sunday to score the 18th point that clinched the Cup for the United States.
- Robert Allenby Earns Least Valuable Player Award — Captain’s pick and Australian-born Allenby was ushered onto the team because of his local knowledge and experience, 2011 being his sixth Presidents Cup. However, he missed the cut at the Australian Open the week before the Cup, and then earned zero points for his team, which ties for the worst record in Presidents Cup history.
- Who? — This was a big event for the no names. On the United States Team, Captain Couples chose Bill Haas — recent FedEx Cup winner — as one of two captain’s picks (dad is famous professional Jay Haas, an assistant captain). On the International Team, unknown 20-year-old phenom Kyung-tae Kim took down Webb Simpson — who is easily the least recognizable player on the U.S. team, despite winning twice in 2011 — in the Sunday singles matches.
- Furyk goes undefeated — It’s been a tough year for Jim Furyk, who topped out at 36th in the FedEx Cup standings just one year after winning it, and cracked the top 10 just four times in his 26 starts during the 2011 season. But he was a perfect 5-0 this week, crediting his partnership with Phil Mickelson for the reason his solid ball striking finally translated to good scoring.
- Biggest winner of the week: facial hair — Several players supported the eradication of prostate cancer for no-shave November. It made for some humorous close ups. The best goes to Geoff Ogilvy, whose mustache was dedicated to his father who’s in remission from prostate cancer.
- Best team of the week: Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson — The duo went 3-0 during the first three rounds before falling to Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel during the Saturday four-ball.
- Notable Sunday singles — Young gun Simpson fell to younger gun Kim with a dramatic final putt on 18; Tiger steamrolled popular local Aaron Baddeley with zero bogeys all day; Phil Mickelson charged back with birdies on 15 and 16 before finally falling to Adam Scott on the 17th hole.
- Now kiss and make up — By now, everyone has heard about Steve Williams’ disparaging remarks about ex-boss Tiger Woods. So when Tiger’s group was paired against Williams’ new boss Adam Scott for the Thursday foursomes, speculation stirred about the reunion. Turned out to be a lot of hype. The two shook hands before the match, and Tiger said afterward, “As I said, life goes forward. There are some great things that Stevie and I did. That’s how I look at it. I know he probably looks at it differently than I do, but, hey, life goes forward. I’m very happy with what we did in our career together. But life goes forward.” No one can shut down a story quite like Tiger.