If this were a prizefight, the ref would have stopped it. But it’s the Presidents Cup, so the matches must go on. As the pummeling bleeds into Sunday singles, the final session of this agonizing affair, we distract ourselves by asking an historical question: which golf matches rank among the most lopsided contests the game has seen?
1. 2006 Accenture Match Play Championship: Tiger Woods vs. Stephen Ames
Asked in advance to assess his chances, the ever-quotable Ames found optimism in Woods’ wayward ball-striking. “Anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball.” Oh, snap! As for Woods, he let his golf clubs do the talking, until after the match, when he was asked for his reaction to Ames’ comment. “9 and 8,” Woods replied, citing the score.
2. 1927 Ryder Cup: USA vs. Great Britain
The first-ever Ryder Cup could hardly have gone worse for the team from Great Britain, who suffered 9.5 - 2.5 shellacking at the hands of a Walter Hagen-led American squad. In a fitting bit of closure, during Saturday’s singles session, Leo Diegel administered a 7-5 beating on Great Britain’s captain, Ted Ray.
3. 1929 Ryder Cup: George Duncan vs. Walter Hagen
Prior to a format change in 1959, Ryder Cup singles matches went 36 holes. That gave Duncan, Great Britain’s captain, ample time to put the hurt on Walter Hagen, closing him out 10 & 8.
4. 1990 Solheim Cup: Pat Bradley v. Trish Johnson
In 1987, Johnson won three tournaments on her way to being named the Rookie of the Year on the Ladies European Tour. None of which mattered in the singles session of the inaugural Solheim Cup, when Bradley thrashed her 8&7.
5. 1980 U.S. Amateur Finals: Hal Sutton vs. Bob Lewis
In 1980, Sutton won the North and South Amateur, the Western Amateur, the Northeast Amateur and the Eisenhower Trophy, so, really, no shame for Lewis in going down to Sutton 9&8
6. 1997 Ryder Cup: Fred Couples vs. Ian Woosnam
Just last week, Woosnam joined Couples in the World Golf Hall of Fame. But in Sunday singles 20 years ago, they were not on even footing, as Freddie routed Woosie 8&7, tying the record for largest margin of victory in an 18-hole Ryder Cup singles match. (If you must know, Tom Kite bludgeoned Howard Clark by that score in 1989)
7. 2006 Ryder Cup: Team Europe vs. Team USA
The “K” in K Club doesn’t stand for knockout, but this one ended early, with the Americans on the mat. It was the European’s third consecutive win in the Ryder Cup, the first time they’d ever pulled off that trifecta. Worse still for the Americans, the final result tied the record-winning margin of the U.S. vs. Europe era, equalling the whooping the Americans had endured just two years before.
8. 1985 Ryder Cup: Jose Maria Canizares & Jose Rivero vs. Tom Kite and Calvin Peete
Here are a couple of things Canizares and Rivero have in common. 1. They’re both Spanish 2. They were teammates in a record beat-down in Ryder Cup foursomes when they torched Kite and Peete, 7 & 5. Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer went on tie that record in 1993, when they were similarly unkind to Paul Azinger and Payne Stewart.