Tiger Woods reaffirms match-play dominance at Presidents Cup
Tiger Woods loosened up at the Presidents Cup and as a result played the best he has played in a match-play event in quite a while.
There have been rumblings over the past few years that maybe Tiger Wood is losing his edge in match-play events -- specifically team match-play events.
"He's not what he once was."
"He's no longer feared."
Things like that.
Woods, for his part, didn't play well enough to silence the critics, either.
He went 2-3 at the 2011 Presidents Cup and 0-3-2 at the 2012 Ryder Cup. Earlier this year, he was bounced in the first round of the Match Play Championship by Charles Howell III.
Woods didn't need a great week at this year's Presidents Cup because Woods is never for wont for any golf achievements during the rest of his career -- but it sure was nice to see him reassert his status as one of the best match-play golfers in history.
He led the US team with four total points and put some distance between himself and Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk for the all-time record of matches won at the Presidents Cup (Woods now has 24, the other two have 20).
Tiger didn't even see the final two holes of Muirfield Village until Saturday. He and Matt Kuchar teamed up to win 5 and 4 and 4 and 2 in their first two matches before winning just 1-up on Saturday morning against Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama.
Then, of course, Woods completed the Cup-winning two-putt on the final hole on Sunday against Richard Sterne.
It's a good thing, too, because the US would only obtain a half point more than they needed for the win. If Woods hadn't won his singles match, it could have been like the Sunday Ryder Cup disaster from 2012 ... but worse.
"I was like a similar position as Freddie; where is our fourth point going to come from?" Woods said. "I was at a point where I wasn't feeling my best coming down the stretch, and happened to get a 1-up lead. I was just trying to just hang on to that."
Woods said he was mentally toast as well.
"I was like I really don't want to play anymore. Just can I win, can I halve this last hole, somehow, and it ended up being that way."
Couples, for his part, had less anxiety than Tiger sounded like he did but he was still relieved to watch his star finish off the International team.
"At no time was I a nervous wreck, but it was nice when Tiger two-putted that last green to get the 18th point."
Sunday afternoon might have been the only time all week Woods showed any signs of worry. It was unnerving (and hilarious) to watch him do the Fresh Prince dance with Matt Kuchar on Thursday.
He was downright giddy (for him) all week -- there were a few f-bombs and soul-rattling yells but they were usually in celebration, not in anger.
It's rare to see Tiger unhinged (as it were) like that in the public forum.
Kuchar had a great quote in this Fox Sports column by Robert Lusetich about how a loose Woods is a great Woods.
"I think people tend to play better when they are enjoying themselves," Kuchar said.
Maybe Woods should see this week as a sign. The usually uber-intense 14-time major champ could collect a few lessons from Kuchar and use this week as a launching pad for his subsequent assault on Jack Nicklaus' record in 2014.
We know he's the most intimidating match-play golfer in history -- and apparently one of the most fun to play with, too. This week proved that (again).
It was a great end to a great year for Woods.
Now if he can just perfect that dance with caddie Joe LaCava for the Masters next year ...
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