Presidents Cup history is on Americans' side
Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, in a sudden-death playoff to decide the 2003 Presidents Cup, halved three consecutive holes and could barely see the last two putts fall.
Both teams and captains were on the second green at Fancourt when a tie was proposed. That's when U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus reminded International captain Gary Player that the Americans would retain the Cup as the defending champion.
"Let's keep playing!" Scott demanded over the din.
The 10th edition of the Presidents Cup starts Thursday, and the odds do not exactly favor the International team.
It has seven rookies, and while all but Hideki Matsuyama have played a fair amount on the PGA Tour this year, Scott is the only team member to have won - in the Masters for his first major, and the Barclays during the FedEx Cup playoffs.
The American team is regarded as one of the strongest ever for any Cup - all 12 players are among the top 30 in the world ranking, and four other players from the top 30 were left out (Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, and Bubba Watson).
The matches are at Muirfield Village, were Tiger Woods has won five times and Matt Kuchar won in June. The Americans have never lost the Presidents Cup on home soil, which is not all that unusual considering they have lost only once since the Presidents Cup began in 1994.
"I understand that and how it looks on paper," Scott said Wednesday after the final day of practice. "It's hard to write off guys who are top-60 in the world, because on any given day, anyone can beat anyone. And we've seen that a million times, especially in 18-hole match play. Yeah, I see how that looks. I also see seven guys here for the first time pumped up and ready to go. And I think that's giving me a great feeling about a new experience in the Presidents Cup after having a run of really big defeats."
The Presidents Cup gets started with Jason Day and Graham DeLaet taking on Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker in the first of six four-balls matches. It's the first time since 1996 that the better-ball format has been used in the opening session.
Scott is taking the youngest player on the International team - 21-year-old Matsuyama - as his partner against Bill Haas and Webb Simpson. Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, undefeated in three matches last year in the Ryder Cup, take on Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.
International captain Nick Price made sure a veteran played with a rookie, except with seven newcomers, he had no choice but to put two rookies together - Branden Grace and Richard Sterne in the anchor match against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner.
Els is the veteran of this International team, especially with five other players from southern Africa. But when the younger players talk about the week and the importance of winning, Scott's name always is mentioned.
Perhaps a green jacket can make the voice a little stronger.
"Scotty is really determined," said Marc Leishman, who will partner with Angel Cabrera against Woods and Kuchar. "He has not been on a winning side. Ernie has been vocal, as well; Angel, too. All the experienced guys are really motivated and determined to win. Think they are getting sick of being on the wrong end of this competition."
It's getting to the point where "competition" might be a little strong. The last three President Cups have been routs.
"I feel it's really important for the Internationals to get a win," Scott said. "We need to make this thing really relevant, make it a real competition, because it's gotten a bit lopsided the last few outings. I think we've got a team that can win this week, but the only way we can do it is by playing good and wanting it more than the Americans."
Who: U.S. vs. International in team match play
When: Thursday to Sunday
Where: Muirfield Village Golf Club (7,354 yards, par 72), Dublin, Ohio.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, noon to 6 p.m.; Friday, 1-6 p.m.; NBC10 (Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.)
Thursday: Six four-ball matches
Friday: Six foursome matches
Saturday: Five morning four-ball matches, five afternoon foursome matches
Sunday: 12 singles matches
Last matches: The United States won for the fourth consecutive time, beating the International team, 19-15, in 2011 at Royal Melbourne in Australia. Jim Furyk became the fourth player to win all five of his matches. The United States leads the series, 7-1-1.
Notes: Jack Nicklaus founded the club and designed the course, the first to host the Ryder Cup (1987), Solheim Cup (1998), and Presidents Cup. . . . Matt Kuchar won the Memorial at Muirfield Village in June. . . . Tiger Woods has a record five victories in the Memorial, the last in 2011. . . . Adam Scott is the only player on the International team with a PGA Tour victory this year. He won the Masters and the Barclays playoff event. . . . Phil Mickelson is making his 10th appearance in the matches. He is the only player to compete in every event.
11:45 a.m. Jason Day and Graham DeLaet, International, vs. Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker, United States.
11:59 a.m. Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, International, vs. Bill Haas and Webb Simpson, United States.
12:13 p.m. Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, International, vs. Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, United States.
12:27 p.m. Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge, International, vs. Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth, United States.
12:41 p.m. Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman, International, vs. Matt Kuchar and Tiger Woods, United States.
12:55 p.m. Branden Grace and Richard Sterne, International, vs. Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, United States.
- Associated Press
United StatesCaptain: Fred Couples
InternationalCaptain: Nick Price, Zimbabwe
Angel Cabrera, Argentina
Jason Day, Australia
x-Brendon de Jonge, Zimbabwe
Graham DeLaet, Canada
Ernie Els, South Africa
Branden Grace, South Africa
x-Marc Leishman, Australia
Hideki Matsuyama, Japan
Adam Scott, Australia
Richard Sterne, South Africa