Yes there was some fantastic choking down the stretch, but other than Sangmoon Bae having to stare at military barrack ceilings the next two years hoping Kim Jong-un doesn't start a war, you have to think everyone who participated in the 2015 Presidents Cup will come out a winner. Just check out some of the "numbers" from Golf Channel's Editorial Research unit courtesy of Al Tays and you can see the week maybe being a breakthrough one for Branden Grace or Marc Leishman or Chris Kirk, and maybe even for Anirban Lahiri.
Doug Ferguson does a nice job summing up the key moments down Sunday's stretch.
That's what the International team wanted when it demanded the number of matches be reduced (from 34 to 30). It almost got something even better — the shiny gold trophy that again stays with the Americans.
"Irrelevant of the outcome — we obviously would have loved to have won — we put on a show of golf this week," captain Nick Price said.
The final session was not without its share of heartbreak.
Anirban Lahiri, the first player from India to make the International team, battled Kirk shot-for-shot over the final hour holes and looked like a winner when he played a delicate pitch to perfection on the par-5 18th and had 4 feet for birdie. Kirk's chip ran 15 feet by. Based on the status of other matches still on the course, it looked like the International team would finally emerge a winner.
And then Kirk made his putt on the final turn, and one of the most stoic players on the PGA Tour unleashed a fist pump.
Moments later, Lahiri missed.
His putt caught the right edge of the cup and spun out, and he dropped his putter over his back in disbelief.
"I have to give credit to Chris for making that putt," Lahiri said. "These things are scripted, I guess, and I wasn't in the script this time."
Rex Hoggard has more on that pivotal Lahiri-Kirk match, which you have to figure will produce two players better off for having played under some decent pressure.
Hoggard also considers the pick that was Phil Mickelson. Never dull and generally a huge help, Mickelson had another fascinating Cup week.
The veteran’s only misstep came during his Friday fourball match when he switched to a “firmer [golf] ball” on the seventh tee to violate the one-ball condition. The penalty was a one-hole “adjustment to the state of the match,” and the American duo halved the match with Scott and Day.
Mickelson seemed to compound that miscue, and provide the Internationals with bulletin board material, when he said, “I feel like we spotted the Internationals’ best team [Day and Scott] two holes and they still couldn't beat us. Just saying.”
Otherwise Mickelson’s play was inspired and he demonstrated why the U.S. team lobbied Haas to make him what many considered a “players’ pick.”
And then there was the other pick. Dave Shedloski on the captain's son thriving under immense pressure bringing up the rear in Sunday singles.
Fast forward to Sunday at Jack Nicklaus GC, where Jay Haas, the U.S. captain in the Presidents Cup, could do nothing but watch as his son battled local favorite Sang-Moon Bae in the 12th and final singles match with the Presidents Cup hanging in the balance. Playing for your teammates and your country are pressure enough, but when your father, who used one of his two wildcard picks on you, is the captain, and you’ve gone winless in two previous matches, breathing ceases to be involuntary.
"It was different from anything else I’ve ever felt on a golf course,” said Bill, trying to recall the sensation of competing with so much riding on the outcome. "There were so many things running through my head. I had trouble concentrating. I don’t know how I got through it.”
One non-winner in the matches was the NBC crew, who Martin Kaufmann points out talked over way too many player conversations and did a poor job with utilizing screen acreage to update where matches stood during singles, something I found frustrating during such close matches where a single point actually, for a change, made a difference.
Serious fans are almost forced to keep tabs on matches on a second screen.
NBC’s answer is to stop its coverage to show us a 1970s-style leaderboard. About four hours into singles, NBC even felt the need to have Hicks spend 85 seconds reciting the scores “to catch you up on the matches.” It was like listening to a DJ give the baseball scores on an old AM radio.