Another rules controversy blights golf as US cruise at Presidents Cup

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The US made light work of the International team to retain the Presidents Cup – but not before another rules fiasco

What happened at the Presidents Cup?

Anirban Lahiri had to birdie the 16th and 17th holes in the Saturday afternoon fourballs to prevent the US closing out the Internationals a day early, something which has never happened in either the Presidents or Ryder Cups. It was that one-sided.

On Sunday, needing just one of the 12 singles, it was all over by the time Daniel Berger had beaten Kim in the fourth match out. The final score was 19-11 but that didn’t even reflect what a drubbing this was given that Nick Price’s side picked up seven and a half points on Sunday.

For the record the Americans have now won 10, halved one and lost one of the 12 overall matches – the US have won the last seven.

Dustin Johnson could have finished the week with a perfect 5-0 but was held to a half on Sunday by Branden Grace. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed all came into the singles with three wins and a half from the first three days but then all lost their head to heads.

For Phil Mickelson, who was the only American not to be part of the Tour Championship and who needed a captain’s pick, it was an undefeated week and he was one of three home winners in the singles, along with Rickie Fowler (also unbeaten) and Berger.

Mickelson is 47 now and this might be his final team outing for the United States. He has never been part of a victorious away team in the Ryder Cup and making the team in Paris will be one of his big goals for 2018.

Talking point

So onto that rules fiasco.

The Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed vs. Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen showdown was all square at the short par-4 12th.

Day pitched his second shot to tap-in range and the Americans conceded the birdie.

Oosthuizen, whose drive had just fallen off the back of the green, attempted his eagle putt. But as it scuttled past the hole, Spieth, knowing his playing partner was already down for three, scooped up Oosthuizen’s still-moving ball and tossed it back to him.

But before Spieth and Reed could attempt their birdie putts, match referee Andy McFee stepped in and disqualified Spieth because stopping a ball still in motion is against the rules.

Day and Oosthuizen tried to argue on behalf of their opponents, but to no avail. Ridiculous? Of course, but the official was only doing his job. Hate the game, not the player.

For what it’s worth, the incident put the Internationals one up but the US recovered to take the match 2&1.

Shots of the week

Daniel Berger was left out of the Saturday morning foursomes. Here’s how he got into his fourball match alongside Justin Thomas in the afternoon.

With his feet in the hazard and almost in the water the American faced a pitch of 76 yards with the clever money on him toppling back into the drink.

And then this happened…

He and Thomas beat Hideki Matsuyama and Jhonattan Vegas 3&2.

The only way Justin Thomas can stop this thing is by hitting the..oh

Tweets of the week

When celebrations go wrong…

When celebrations are just really, really, really odd… Apparently it’s from the Three Amigos which might not be that apparent from these moves.

Jordan Spieth when asked about his favourite chant from the crowds…

And finally…

Quote of the week

“I thought we were going to have to get another captain out here to carry his stones”

Justin Thomas on his partner Berger after he knocked in five birdies in the Saturday fourballs.

“This is just between me and Spieth”

McFee doesn’t care if you’re Tiger Woods.

“They got a standing ovation when they walked in our team room tonight”

Internationals captain Nick Price on Lahiri and Kim’s Saturday afternoon victory which prevented it being all over in three days.

Best dressed

Here’s Mr FedEx rocking the stars and stripes bobble. Everything about this look is basically tremendous.

Justin Thomas

Worst dressed

For this category the words ‘Matt Kuchar’ in Getty’s search bar generally gets the job done. But this could have been any of the Americans on Sunday and centres squarely around the colour of their trousers.

There is a darts player called Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams who has relied on this colour of slack over the years and, every single time, they have looked abysmal. As was the case here in New Jersey.

I understand the red, white and blue thing but there are far better combinations to involve all three colours.

Matt Kuchar

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