The Internationals entered Saturday morning’s foursomes session six points down and squarely on life support, and under clear skies and cooler temperatures, the U.S. pulled the plug on this 12th Presidents Cup, winning 3.5 of four points in the morning and pushing its lead to 11.5-2.5. The largest margin of victory in Cup history is the American’s 11-point waltz in 2000, which had 32 matches instead of today’s 30, but that record still seems likely to fall Sunday afternoon.
Oh, one more thing: after a dominant Saturday morning, the U.S. can technically clinch the Cup this afternoon by sweeping the four four-ball matches. Here’s what happened on Saturday morning in Jersey City, N.J.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed def. Mark Leishman and Jason Day, 4 and 3
It was a back-and-forth match until Day hit a tee shot on 12 that settled on a platform behind a scoreboard. Leishman received a free drop for his next shot, but the foul ball seemed to energize the U.S., which promptly birdied back-to-back holes to grab control. Reed canned a 7-footer on 15 to end it, and the top American duo improved to 2-0-1 this week.
Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson def. Adam Hadwin and Adam Scott, 4 and 3
Hadwin’s grit while paired with a fraught Hideki Matsuyama earned the Internationals a half-point Friday, and captain Nick Price was smart to try to find a spot for the Canadian Saturday morning. But the All-Adam pairing was a bust, and Scott was particularly sloppy. They were five over par for the round, and Kooch, after sitting out Friday, gave DJ a boost–not that he needed it. The U.S. was 4 up at the turn and coasted home.
Kevin Kisner and Phil Mickelson def. Emiliano Grillo and Jhonattan Vegas, 2 and 1
All square on 14, Mickelson drove it onto a concrete cart path, where Kisner took a drop in snarly grass and ripped a hybrid more than 250 yards to 15 feet, setting up a two-putt to win the hole. Mickelson stuffed a wedge for a kick-in birdie on 15, and Kisner closed the show with a 7-footer on 17. There was no “Three Amigos” dance this time, just a manly high-five/hug.
Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen vs. Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, halved
This rematch from Friday’s four-ball session was the most competitive match of the morning. The Internationals took an early lead, but the U.S. flipped it by winning holes 7, 8 and 9. Oosty canned a 37-footer on 11 to square it, and he burned the edge with a 30-footer on 16 that would’ve given them a lead (no one in an International sweater can catch a break). On 17, Thomas missed from 8 feet to leave the door open, but Grace whiffed a putt from a foot closer on the same line. Thomas dropped a 6-footer on 18 to close this match in the tie it deserved.
The teams would immediately head back out for four fresh matches in the afternoon four-ball session, but make no mistake, the outcome here is no longer in doubt. The most strenuous task remaining for the U.S. is to book dinner reservations for Sunday night’s victory party in Manhattan.