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Mike Weir Defeats Tiger Woods, United States Retains Presidents Cup

Montreal, Quebec, Canada–

If there were any lingering doubts about this being Mike Weir’s Presidents Cup, they were dispelled when his match with Tiger Woods reached the final hole on Sunday.

Stewart Cink was clinching the event for the Americans at that exact moment, but there was no mad rush from other U.S. players to start celebrating with him on the 15th green.

Most of the guys who had already finished a match were watching Weir and Woods along with a massive gallery at Royal Montreal. Even David Toms and Trevor Immelman, playing a few holes behind, stood watching it on a massive television screen.
They saw Woods drive his ball into water left of the 18th fairway, which opened the door for Weir to capture his second straight hole and pull out a 1-up victory. “It’s tough to put it into words what this means to me,” said Weir.

His International Team ended up putting on a strong Sunday showing, but they were simply too far behind the Americans. The U.S. won 19½-14½.

The Americans now hold a 5-1-1 record in Presidents Cup matches against players from every country outside of Europe. It’s a surprising level of dominance given that the U.S. doesn’t have the same depth as the International Team.
“The team we beat is one hell of a team from top to bottom,” said Jim Furyk. “You all said that they look better on paper than we do and that’s true. “But I’ll tell you, it just seems like we pull together, we have a hell of a time, and we’re loose for these weeks at the Presidents Cups.

“But I’ll tell you, it just seems like we pull together, we have a hell of a time, and we’re loose for these weeks at the Presidents Cups.”
This event will be remembered for Woody Austin’s fall into the pond at the 14th hole on Friday and the way Weir performed while playing as the lowest-ranked golfer on the International Team.

There was debate about whether he warranted a captain’s selection right up until the start of the event and Weir did far more than justify his place here.

“For all the pressure that he had all week, it was pretty phenomenal how he played,” said Woods. “I mean, not a lot of people could actually have dealt with the things he had to deal with all week. “And the way he came out and represented all of Canada was impressive.”

The Weir-Woods match brought a dramatic feel to the final day of the event. It was the third straight time Woods had faced the homegrown hero in the Presidents Cup, having already beaten Ernie Els in South Africa and Greg Norman in Australia.
There were early signs that the world’s best player didn’t have his best stuff. He missed a seven-foot putt that would have won the first hole and hit his tee shot out of bounds on the par-5 sixth.

By contrast, Weir was striking the ball beautifully and ended up making four birdies during his round against just one bogey. “He didn’t have his best day and I had my best day,” said Weir. “That’s the way you’re going to beat the best player, especially Tiger.” It didn’t come easily. Woods turned a 3-down deficit into a 1-up lead by winning four of five holes starting at No. 11.

Many players have had that man rally from behind in match play and it looked like Weir might be out of magic. He remained calm and squared the match at No. 17 with a 10-foot birdie putt before hitting his approach to 12 feet at the final hole. Woods conceded the putt and the match. It ran Weir’s record at this Presidents Cup to 3-1-1.

“I’m obviously proud of the way I played this week,” said Weir. “I don’t know if I can play any better.”
Els and International Team captain Gary Player were among the first to embrace him after he closed out Woods. Weir was the focal point of the International side and they were clearly thrilled after his victory.

“I’m just so glad for him,” said Els. “He must have felt a lot of pressure coming into this week, being a captain’s pick. It must have been a very difficult week for him, an emotional week.

“He was by far the star of our team and I loved playing with him.” Added Player: “This could turn his life around.”

Weir has tumbled down the world rankings in recent years and rebuilt his swing over the past 12 months. He hasn’t won a PGA Tour event since February 2004, but this Presidents Cup might end up feeling like a personal victory for him.

That wasn’t exactly how he saw it right after he finished a fourth Presidents Cup that ended without a victory. “I should be a lot happier than how I am right now,” said Weir.

That, in itself, demonstrates why he is the type of golfer team events were made for. The International Team won seven of the 12 singles matches on Sunday. They were undone this week by the foursomes – or alternate shot – matches. The U.S. Team took 10½ of 11 points in that format.

The Internationals also needed a better showing from the big guns. Adam Scott, Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi are all in the top 10 in the world rankings, but combined for a 2-9-2 record.

“We just didn’t win enough matches,” said Geoff Ogilvy. “There’s no science behind it. You’ve just got to play better.” They’ll get their next chance in 2009 at Harding Park in San Francisco.

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Weir qualifies for the next International Team after his performance here. He now has an overall Presidents Cup record of 11-7-1. “I really enjoy this format,” said Weir. “I really enjoy this tournament.”

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