The scoreboard didn’t tell the full story of this Presidents Cup
4 Min Read
Written by Cameron Morfit @CMorfitPGATOUR
Xander Schauffele wins his match and clinches the Presidents Cup for U.S. Team
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – His ball, club, hat, heart, and the inhibitions of the International Team.
Tom Kim, whose entertainment value exceeded his 2-3-0 record for the week, ran out of things to leave on the greens as he whooped and hollered and early-walked all those made putts, all of it must-see TV. Maybe he was secretly watching his own highlights when he strode smiling onto Quail Hollow’s first tee in those goofy glasses Sunday.
The U.S. won the 2022 Presidents Cup 17.5 – 12.5. Xander Schauffele (3-1-0) scored the clinching point with his 1-up Singles win over Corey Conners, and in a way, he called it.
“I’ll just save mine for tomorrow,” Schauffele said when asked for his highlight Saturday.
Si Woo Kim shushed the crowd, birdied 18 and beat Justin Thomas 1 up. Sebastian Muñoz took out Scottie Scheffler 2 and 1. If we watch to be surprised, who saw those results coming?
“Probably one of the best things I ever achieved in my life,” Muñoz said.
We saw greatness at this Presidents Cup: Jordan Spieth’s five birdies to beat Cam Davis 4 and 3 as he went 5-0-0 for the week. We saw players grow up: Davis’ eagle, birdie, birdie finish with partner and boyhood idol Adam Scott on Saturday. And stars were born: Tom Kim.
Kim’s U.S. equivalent was his Singles opponent Sunday, Max Homa, who won 1 up to run his record to 4-0-0. Homa was the best rookie, the best captain’s pick, and the best quote.
“There’s so many people, you can feel them on the back of your neck,” he said after making birdie on 18 to power himself and Billy Horschel to victory over Corey Conners/Taylor Pendrith in Four-ball on Friday. “… It’s been amazing to watch these 11 other guys who are incredibly good, incredibly acclaimed, so many accomplishments, cheering us on coming down the stretch. I’ve been in the last match both days, and to be able to see that is special for me.”
Homa sat on a wide rostrum with teammates, who suddenly were listening intently.
“The golf’s amazing,” Homa continued. “But you remember that kind of stuff well into your days, so I feel very thankful for that. I mean, I was nervous as could be over that putt, but it was fun. I was telling my wife … money cannot buy that feeling. And that was something that I will remember forever, and I will tell anybody who ever wants to hear about it how that felt.”
The final score of this Presidents Cup won’t reflect that eloquence. Nor will it provide a record of the great shots that were in vain, like Xander Schauffele putting in from well off the 15th green as he and Cantlay went 1 up with three to play over Kim/Kim on Saturday.
Those who saw it won’t soon forget Sungjae Im chipping in for birdie on 14 as he and Muñoz tied Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns in the week’s best match, a Four-ball contest Friday. Im/Muñoz birdied six straight back-nine holes and won just one of them. They made nine birdies and no bogeys; Scheffler/Burns made nine birdies, an eagle, and two bogeys.
The final score will not reflect the rub of the green, Tom Kim driving into the trees on the first hole Saturday afternoon only to laugh when his ball ricocheted back in the fairway. It will not show how high Spieth’s chip-in bounced when it hit the back of the hole on 15 late Saturday as he and Justin Thomas beat Hideki Matsuyama/Taylor Pendrith 4 and 3.
“I would have celebrated more,” Spieth, the MVP of the U.S. Team, said with a wry smile. “It was going in kind of hard. I didn’t know if it was actually going to go in.”
Added Thomas, who had left himself just 4 1/2 feet for a birdie that became moot, “I putted ten times today. I played two matches, and I hit ten putts. I think that’s pretty absurd. I legitimately think I picked my coin up more than I hit putts. So yeah, my partner’s pretty good.”
The final score will not reflect Spieth’s sportsmanship when asked about the Internationals’ surprising and raucous 3-1 rally Saturday afternoon to go into the Singles down 11-7.
“I thought it was a cool moment for those guys on the 18th green,” he said.
In the end, the International Team’s exuberance did not require the U.S. Team to stew in misery, or vice-versa. U.S. Captain Davis Love III presumably would get a taste of the International Team’s seven-culture cuisine at the after-party, always a glorious mashup of happy combatants.
The scoreboard can’t measure that sort of thing, or explain how 12 men played for each other, the flag, the shield. It won’t reflect how time stood still as players became giants, at times surprising themselves more than anyone. But they knew, we all knew, and everyone spilled into the North Carolina night happy to tell anybody who asks how that felt.
Cameron Morfit began covering the PGA TOUR with Sports Illustrated in 1997, and after a long stretch at Golf Magazine and golf.com joined PGATOUR.COM as a Staff Writer in 2016. Follow Cameron Morfit on Twitter.