Alan Bastable, senior editor for GOLF Magazine, live-blogged Friday's Presidents Cup matches. Golf.com Presidents Cup Leaderboard7:57 p.m. So there you have it. The U.S. and International teams pick up three points a piece in today's four-ball matches, and the U.S. maintains its one-point lead. Tomorrow's format: five matches of foursomes followed by five matches of four-ball. A loooooong day, especially for those guys who will play 36. Couples just told GC that he'll likely send out the same pairings Saturday that he did Thursday. Is there any chance Freddie might break up Woods and Stricker? "Not unless they tie me up and I can't get to the pairings [selection]," Couples said.Enjoy the action. And thanks for joining us...
7:50 p.m. Ahead at 18, Tim Clark continues to prove his mettle as a world-class match player (you might remember him beating Tiger at the Accenture earlier this year). After a brilliant second shot to 15 feet on the par-5 18th, he cans his eagle putt for the win. A monster, must-have point for the Internationals, who at day's end have narrowed the U.S. lead to just one. It's the U.S. 6.5 to the International's 5.5. All that stuff I said about blowouts? Yeah, a little premature. 7:43 p.m. Gritty birdie putt from Allenby at 17. He drains it from 15 feet, forcing Johnson to make his bird from 7 feet. It's Zach's second chance in two holes to close out the match and ... "GET IN THE HOLE" — yikes, a fan yells just as Johnson is about to putt. ("And that's why alcohol is bad," Zinger says.) No matter, Johnson step up again and rolls it in. Fist pump. Win. Another U.S. point. 7:35 p.m. Just two matches still on the course: Johnson/Mahan v. Allenby/Villegas, who are on 17. And Cink/Glover v. Clark/Singh, who just teed off on 18. If the U.S. wins both, they'll have a 7.5 to 4.5 lead. That's not insurmountable for the Internationals, but ... actually, yes, it would be insurmountable. As I said earlier, this U.S. dominance thing is bad news for the Presidents Cup. The event needs rivalry, tension and drama—and blowouts don't breed any of that. 7:27 p.m. Johnson misses a 6-footer at 16 to win the match. He and Mahan remain 2 up ... with two holes to play.7:25 p.m. The Big Easy has done his part—two points in two matches. Back at 15, Woods and Stricker seal the deal. They're 5-and-3 winners. Looks like Tiger has found his teammate for the 2010 Ryder Cup.7:21 p.m. Furyk misses a 25-footer at the par-5 18th to potentially halve the match. Gave it a good roll, but he leaves it low. The Yanks concede their opponents' putts and the Internationals—Els and Weir—win the match 2 up. 7:16 p.m. Weirsy, at 18, faces a shot with which most 15-handicappers are familiar. He's in dense rough up the left of the fairway, two feet from a fence. The result: one of the shots of the week. A fairway-wood laser up the gut of the fairway and onto the green. Capt. Norman, who's onlooking, nearly comes out of his sling. 7:10 p.m. Glover cards his first birdie, but it didn't come easy. He chipped in from behind the green at 16. He and Cink and now 1 up.7:05 p.m. A.K. misses the 18th fairway by a football field. Golf Mag's Mike Walker says he'll need Google Earth to find it. 7:03 p.m. The best performance of the day: Azinger's. He's often given credit for bringing out the best in Faldo, but today he's simply out-commentated him. No contest. Azinger's more candid and critical, but the biggest difference between the two is that Zinger doesn't need to be teed up by his analyst. He get the sense that he could run the show solo. 6:59 p.m. Els makes a 12-footer at 17, and he and Weir go 1-up. Gutsy putt. 6:55 p.m. The critical matches are both all square: Glover/Cink v. Singh/Clark, thru 15andFuryk/Kim v. Els/Weir, thru 16 6:52 p.m. Zach Johnson rolls in a 7-footer for birdie at the par-3 14th. The moment he struck that tee shot, he walked after it like a tiger stalking his prey. Love the confidence. Back at 13, Tiger drains a birdie putt from 10 feet. He and Stricker are 3 up. Put that one in the books. 6:45 p.m. These late afternoon matches are taking on some gravity. If the close matches go the Americans' way, the weekend could be a dog of a tournament with Team USA running away with the Cup. If the Internationals can steal back a couple more points, they might not grab the lead, but they will gather some momentum, which in team play is always a boon. In other words, the tournament could be won or lost in the next hour or so. 6:36 p.m. A look at the leaderboard...OVERALL SCORE: U.S.: 4.5, INT'L: 3.5TODAY'S FOUR-BALL MATCHES: U.S. WINS Mickelson/Leonard defeat Goosen/Scott, 3 and 2INTERNATIONAL WINS Ishikawa/Yang defeat Perry/O'Hair, 4 and 3 U.S. LEADS Furyk/Kim 1 up over Els/Weir, thru 15 Johnson/Mahan 2 up over Allenby/Villegas, thru 12 Stricker/Woods 3 up over Ogilvy/Cabrera, thru 11ALL SQUARESingh/Clark and Glover/Cink, thru 146:25 p.m. Was pleased to see Aussie Robert Allenby rip it up yesterday. Before Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley and Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott, Allenby was the Next Norman, a can’t-miss kid full of game and guts. Then came a car accident that nearly killed him (1996) and endless battles with his temper and his putting. Still, the guy seems to always show up (21 top-10s in the last three years). He told me a couple years back that he has adjusted his attitude and taken more of a no-worries approach to the game. Seems to be paying dividends. Amazing, I don't think GC's shown him hit a single shot today.6:20 p.m. Yang drops a bomb at 14 and he and Ishi are dormie. Classy play from them today. 6:17 p.m. Game, set, match. Leonard curls in a 10-foot birdie putt at 16, and he and Lefty win their match 3 and 2. 6:14 p.m. Ogilvy and Cabrera both miss the green at the par-3 11th. Tiger sticks a towering tee shot to 12 feet. Zinger: "There was so much integrity on that shot." I'm definitely using that line next time I tee it up. 6:11 p.m. Mark Rolfing jumps on the Phil Express, echoing comments made by Johnny Miller at the Tour Championship. "I think he is going to be a real threat to Tiger next year," Rolf says. Mickelson promptly dumps a wedge shot into the rough short of the 16th green. 6:07 p.m. O'Hair has not made a birdie through 13 holes. 6:02 p.m. Reader D.F. (Feherty, that you?) asks: "What was
Fred thinking when he paired Perry with O'Hair? Kenny & Zach were a
natural pairing as they both stated yesterday. They share many common
bonds. Perry and O'Hair, not so much." Couples said that a couple of his guys actually asked for different partners—not so much because they didn't gel with their foursome partners but because they just wanted to mix it up. I think Kenny and Zach fell into that category. Everybody knows Couples is laid back, but I'm stunned by how loose he's been this week. He seems to be treating this thing like a guys' weekend in Myrtle Beach. Hey, whatever works.
Zinger on Stricker's silky putting stroke: "He's a lot like Tiger. If he misses, [his putts are] at least looking at the hole."4:50 p.m. 4:44 p.m. ALL SQUARE U.S. LEADS INTERNATIONAL LEADS 4:42 p.m. 4:38 p.m.
Reader Ben on golf in the Olympics: "Zinger is way off base and typifies the problem with golf becomming an elitist sport all about the money. The chance to play for their country against the rest of the world? How can that not get the players juices flowing?" It might, Ben. But consider the Games will also fall in early August, during a key stretch in the Tour season. The PGA Championship will probably be rescheduled, along with a few other events. Tim Finchem said earlier today that two majors might get moved. That's also a Ryder Cup year, and we know golfers don't like feeling overburdened. [Cue tiny violins 4:31 p.m. sixth 4:26 p.m. given Mork the mic 4:20 p.m. 4:18 p.m.
4:15 p.m. 735 4:09 p.m. 4:02 p.m. ALL SQUARE U.S. LEADS INTERNATIONAL LEADS 3:58 p.m. 3:54 p.m. want 3:49 p.m. 3:46 p.m. 3:40 p.m. 3:35 p.m. 3:33 p.m. ALL SQUARE U.S. LEADS NTERNATIONAL LEADS 3:28 p.m. 3:23 p.m. SI OK, Tiger wants to take it through this gap here and—boom!--hit it downfield about 317 yards...And hey, there’s Angel Cabrera! He looks like he could be on the All-Madden Team... 3:19 p.m. ALL SQUARE U.S. LEADS INTERNATIONAL LEADS 3:15 p.m. 3:12 p.m. 3:09 p.m. 3:04 p.m. 3:02 p.m. Prediction: 2:58 p.m. Prediction: 2:55 p.m. fired up about Ping-Pong 2:52 p.m. 2:51 p.m. 2:47 p.m. Prediction: 2:41 p.m. Prediction: 2:36 p.m. 2:32 p.m. Prediction: 2:29 p.m. 2:26 p.m. Prediction: 2:22 p.m. 2:20 p.m. 2:04 p.m.
2:00 p.m. The 1:55 p.m. group (Mickelson/Leonard vs Goosen/Scott) is already off. After Leonard split the fairway at the par-5 first, Lefty took a mighty hack and pulled his tee shot into the rough up the right. Must be 50 yards ahead of his partner, though. 1:57 p.m. Welcome to Day 2 of the 2009 Presidents Cup. We ask that you put your cell phones on mute. Juicy start yesterday—Tiger seems finally to have meshed with a match-play partner in steady Steve Stricker; much-maligned captain’s pick Adam Scott resembled Adam Scott circa 2006; Justin Leonard, known for making putts he’s supposed to miss, missed a
putt he was supposed to make; and a hearing-impaired marshal and a heckler teamed up to orchestrate a situation that only be described by one word: aaaaaaaawkward. The U.S. has a 3.5 to
2.5 lead, with six four-ball matches on the docket for today. We’ll be here for
the duration. We hope you will, too.