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November 20 2011

5:33 AM

Nervous early but U.S. ends on a roll

Highlights

In final-day play at The Presidents Cup, the American team retains the Cup with a 19-15 advantage over the Internationals.

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

MELBOURNE, Australia -- There were some anxious moments early. The Internationals set the aggressive tone off the first tee by using driver. U.S. Captain Fred Couples was walking in circles, hoping his team could just win a hole.

In the end, no worries for the Americans. Needing to win five matches on the final day of singles competition to retain The Presidents Cup, the U.S. ending up winning six of the 12 matches to finish with a 19-15 advantage.

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Jim Furyk embraces his caddie, Mike "Fluff" Cowan after finishing off a perfect week at Royal Melbourne.

"I was very nervous," Couples said. "I really didn't think Royal Melbourne was on our side today. But our guys closed it off."

This is the seventh time in nine Presidents Cup that the U.S. has emerged victorious. The win also avenges the Americans' only loss in this event, 13 years ago here at Royal Melbourne. The only other time they didn't win the Cup outright was in 2003 when they shared it with the Internationals.

Greg Norman's squad, with five Australians on the roster, had high hopes coming into this week. But an 8-3 advantage for the Americans in foursomes proved to be too much to overcome.

"That's what really put us behind the 8-ball," Norman said, "and we never really recovered."

Jim Furyk, the 2010 FedExCup champion, was the top point-getter for the U.S. He became just the fourth player in Presidents Cup history to win all five of his matches.

It was an emotional moment for Furyk after he closed out Ernie Els 4 and 3 on Sunday. Earlier in the week, Furyk won three matches with Phil Mickelson and one match with Nick Watney as his partners. He thanked both players for helping him grab a place in the record book

"I didn't expect to play as well as I did," said Furyk, who did not win on the PGA TOUR this year, "but it had to do a lot with my putting this week."

As he did two years ago, Tiger Woods won the decisive point for the U.S. team, as he beat Aaron Baddeley 4 and 3 in the penultimate match.

Woods, a Captain's Pick by Couples, justified his spot on the team as he finally holed some putts on Sunday after playing well from tee to green all week.

"I played well all week," Woods said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t make putts. I hit putts well, but they just weren’t going in. Caught a lot of lips the first three days, first four matches.

“Today was a different deal. I, for some reason, felt it and they were pouring right in there.”

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