November 19 2011
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM staff
MELBOURNE, Australia -- In the four-ball format, Hunter Mahan and David Toms didn't fare so well on Friday -- which likely made it easier for U.S. Captain Fred Couples to sit Toms in Saturday afternoon's four-ball session at Royal Melbourne.
In foursomes, however, the Mahan-Toms team proved to be most formidable this week. The duo beat the Korean pair of K.T. Kim and Y.E. Yang 6 and 5 on Thursday, then followed that with a 5 and 4 thrashing of South Africans Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel on Saturday morning.
Those are the two most lopsided wins for the U.S. team through the first three sessions.
On Saturday morning, after falling behind on the fourth hole to Goosen-Schwartzel, the Americans won the next three holes -- thanks in part to an eagle-2 hole-out from Mahan -- and never looked back
In 27 holes of foursomes competition, the Toms-Mahan duo won 13 holes and lost just two this week. They won five of their nine holes played on the back nine.
"Foursomes is a good format for Hunter and I," said Toms, returning to The Presidents Cup after not making the 2009 U.S. team.
Toms and Mahan have similar games -- they each rank inside the top 25 on the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation and Strokes Gained-Putting -- and in the alternate shot format, they're not having to adjust to an approach that's unfamiliar.
"David and I are very similar in our styles and our games, and you know, in this format, it's all about mistakes and on this golf course, it's all about mistakes," said Mahan, making his second consecutive Presidents Cup appearance. "We just didn't make many mistakes. Kept the pressure on them, hit a lot of fairways and greens and made it easy on ourselves."
Echoed Toms: "We try to hit it on the greens, make a few putts, limit the number of mistakes and you put the pressure on the other team. That's what we were able to do."
Each player seems more comfortable in foursomes than the four-ball (better-ball) format. Toms is 5-3-0 in foursomes at The Presidents Cup and just 1-4-1 in four-ball. Mahan is 4-1-1 in foursomes and 1-3-0 in four-ball in this event.
Toms joined Phil Mickelson on the sidelines for the U.S. during Saturday's four-ball session. That left Mahan with a new partner, FedExCup champion Bill Haas. It might be difficult for those two to re-create the magic Mahan shared with Toms this week.