Associated Press
Sunday, October 22

LAKE MANASSAS, Va. -- This cup didn't runneth over with champagne. The party didn't last into the night. The Americans came to the Presidents Cup on a quiet mission, and accomplished it with record precision.

They didn't just reclaim the Presidents Cup on Sunday, they gave the International team a beating even worse than the one they suffered two years ago in Australia.

 Tom Lehman
Tom Lehman and the Americans didn't allow the International team much room.
And they gave captain Ken Venturi the victorious sendoff he wanted.

"All of our guys gave me 100 percent, and I'll always be indebted for what they did for me," said Venturi, who won the 1964 U.S. Open up the road at Congressional and watched his team grow up during his 32 years as a television analyst.

Hammered and humiliated in Melbourne in 1998, the Americans won back the Presidents Cup with a 21½-10½ victory, the largest margin ever in the short history of the cup and their biggest international rout since a 15-point decision in the 1967 Ryder Cup.

"We didn't want to go out today and let our guard down," said Tiger Woods, who beat Vijay Singh and finished with his first winning record in team competition, 3-2.

The only thing missing was the celebration. No one sprayed champagne from the balcony or doused their teammates with beer. Davis Love III, who clinched the cup by beating Ernie Els, was careful to even walk on the 17th green to congratulate Stewart Cink.

They simply hugged Venturi and soaked up a job well done.

"You start to make a little bit of money, and now all of a sudden people think we're spoiled and don't care," Love said. "We're a little spoiled, but we care."

Whether that's true will be determined in 2002 when the Presidents Cup goes to South Africa. Some Americans have already complained about another trip overseas.

"We'll see how much they love this cup they just won," said Els, a native of South Africa.

Notah Begay III closed out the matches with a 1-up victory over Retief Goosen, the final measure of payback. Coming off a 20½-11½ loss in the last Presidents Cup, the worst beating ever suffered by an American team, they wanted to fully repay the favor.

"Keep it up, you're point 21," Paul Azinger said to Tom Lehman, who struggled to stay in his match with Steve Elkington. Lehman didn't get it done, but two rookies bringing up the rear -- Kirk Triplett and Begay -- managed to come through.

For Woods, it also was personal.

After missing a rare putt in his best-ball loss to Singh on Saturday, he noticed Singh's caddie, Paul Tesori, wearing a cap with "Tiger Who?" stitched on the back.

Few putts were conceded in a match between the players who won all the majors this year -- Singh The Masters, Woods the other three. On the fourth hole, Woods already had a bogey but refused to give Singh a 10-foot birdie putt -- or the 18-inch par putt that followed.

Woods finally closed him out with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 17 for a 2-and-1 victory.

"I wanted him, and I know he wanted me," Woods said.

That was the only sign of controversy in this Presidents Cup, a kinder, gentler affair. Not a heckle was heard the entire week, and Love even mocked the infamous American charge across the 17th green at the Ryder Cup last year.

After Cink closed out Greg Norman on the 17th, Love walked over to congratulate him and stopped on the fringe as if he were about to go over a cliff.

Instead, it was the International team that must have felt like jumping.

Trying to prove it could win on American soil, it suffered an equally embarrassing week on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, where it is now 0-for-3.

"We've had this taste of victory not so long ago," International captain Peter Thomson said. "I bow to the superiority of the U.S. team. It is a very, very powerful team."

Els finished 0-5, a blow to the No. 2 player in the World Rankings. Stuart Appleby also failed to win a match, going 0-3. Robert Allenby won his first, beating Azinger in the opening singles match, but that wasn't nearly enough for the International team.

David Duval, who had to watch Nick Price celebrate the International victory in 1998 in only the second singles match, this time beat Price with a birdie on the 17th. Loren Roberts, the 45-year-old captain's pick, polished off Appleby, 3 and 2.

That set the stage for Love, who was 4-0 this week and has not lost in his last eight matches in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.

Carlos Franco gave the International team the loudest cheer of the day, by making a double eagle from the fairway on the par-5 12th in his 6-and-5 victory over Hal Sutton. Mike Weir won the battle of the lefties, trouncing Phil Mickelson, 4 and 3.

Mickelson was the only player who failed to make a birdie Sunday.

But it wasn't nearly enough. The International team needed nothing short of a miracle, a tall order on a course where it has never won.

Cink and Triplett, the most unheralded rookies on the U.S. team, didn't lose all week. Triplett halved his match with Michael Campbell, the only match out of 32 that ended in a tie. Cink joined Love with a 4-0 record, while Triplett was 3-0-1.

The Americans took possession of both the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup for the first time since 1994, when this tournament began between the United States and international players born outside Europe.

Their worldwide dominance has never been so evident.

A year ago, they came together on the final day of the Ryder Cup by winning 8½ points from the 12 singles matches to pull off the greatest comeback in history. They never missed a beat in the Presidents Cup, and now are 30-14 dating to that Sunday outside Boston.

Two years ago after the "Massacre in Melbourne," Thomson refused to proclaim his team the best in the world until it could win on American soil.

"One day, we will," he said.





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