JERSEY CITY(New Jersey) • The one-sided margin of the Presidents Cup does not mean the event is broken, said Jordan Spieth as the Americans took a virtually unassailable 11-point lead on Saturday.
The US have a 141/2-31/2 advantage over the International team and need only a point from the remaining 12 singles matches this morning (Singapore time) to record their 10th victory in 12 stagings of the golf event. But the world No. 2 believes the tournament is still relevant.
"I think home soil has played a big role this week," the Texan said. "The pick-me-ups, the turnaround matches, the flipping has had a lot to do with feeding off the crowds.
"When you go to away crowds, it's that much harder to do it.
"Where are we, Royal Melbourne in two years?" he said of the next venue in Australia in 2019.
"As we know, the Aussies... are going to be nuts there and they are going to really try and make a difference in that event. This is a fantastic event. I think if you ask the Internationals, they will say the same thing. And going forward, matches can flip either way, the same way they did this week."
UNITED STATES 14.5
SATURDAY'S FOUR-BALL: USA 3 INTERNATIONALS
1 Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed bt Jason Day/Louis Oosthuizen (Aus/Rsa) 2 & 1 Justin Thomas/Daniel Berger bt Hideki Matsuyama/Jhonattan Vegas (Jpn/Ven) 3 & 2 Anirban Lahiri/Kim Si Woo (Ind/Kor) bt Charley Hoffman/Kevin Chappell 1-up Dustin Johnson/Brooks Koepka bt Branden Grace/ Marc Leishman (Rsa/Aus) 3 & 2
SATURDAY'S FOURSOMES: USA 3.5 INTERNATIONALS
0.5 Spieth/Reed bt Day/Leishman (Aus) 4 & 3 Johnson/Matt Kuchar bt Adam Scott/Adam Hadwin (Aus/Can) 4 & 3 Phil Mickelson/Kevin Kisner bt Vegas/Emiliano Grillo (Ven/Arg) 2 & 1 Thomas/Rickie Fowler halved Oosthuizen/Grace (Rsa)
FRIDAY FOUR-BALL: USA 4.5 INTERNATIONALS 0.5
THURSDAY FOURSOMES: USA 3.5 INTERNATIONALS 1.5
He was at the centre of a controversy on Saturday when a penalty imposed on him had the players shaking their heads in consternation over a "stupid" rule of golf.
The three-time Major champion was trying to quell hostile US fans when he used his putter to pick up an eagle attempt from South African Louis Oosthuizen which had rolled past the cup.
Oosthuizen's partner Jason Day had birdied the hole for the Internationals during the four-ball match, so Spieth's action seemed meaningless. But it broke the rule barring players from influencing the movement of a ball in play. Spieth was denied his attempt at a 12-foot birdie putt to halve the hole.
"I only stopped it because our fans were screaming 'keep going'," Spieth could be heard saying, adding he hoped to "shut everybody up".
Day said: "This is what's wrong with the rules sometimes in golf. They already conceded the birdie to me. Louis putts it and he's just going to stop it because it's going to roll down, maybe in the water, so he's just doing the courteous thing.
"No one wants to win a hole like that. It's kind of a stupid rule."
Day and Oosthuizen called for Spieth to be allowed to make his putt and when he was not allowed they even offered to concede the 13th hole to the Americans.
"Jordan said, no, that's the rule and that's how it is and don't worry about it," Oosthuizen said. "That is the rule, but, again, silly rule."
The International duo went 1-up at the hole and stayed in front through the 14th hole. Then the Americans won three straight holes with birdies to seize the match.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS