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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Inaugural Presidents Cup Goes to U.S. Hosts

GAINESVILLE, Virginia -- The final score of the very first Presidents Cup will always look like a lopsided 20-12 American victory. But there was more than enough draining day-long drama and one of the most fabulous finishing shots ever made to clinch finally the championship of an inaugural event that has a promising future on the golf calendar.


Fred Couples' 147-yard 9-iron from a fairway bunker on the 18th hole will be the signature stroke of genius this first event may forever be remembered by at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va. The event pitted an American team against non-European international players in a match-play, Ryder Cup-style competition.


Couples' ball struck the back slope of the green, funneled straight toward the flag and finally came to rest about 18 inches from the cup for a conceded birdie by his foe, Nick Price. Price, the World No. 1 player, was 3-up after 11 holes until Couples rallied to win four of the last five holes.


Price very nearly holed out a chip shot for birdie himself at the 18th that would have halved the hole and kept the match all square, also necessitating a sudden death playoff starting at No. 13.


How close was Price's 25-foot chip to rolling in?


Price put his fingers an inch apart and then shook his head. "I thought it was in, I really did. Wouldn't that have been something to keep playing?"


When Price did miss, Couples had a 1-up victory, his third without a defeat in the competition, and the U.S. team finally had the precious 17th point it needed to clinch the Cup and once and for all swat away a pesky international side inspired yesterday by the presence of Greg Norman.


A big-time proponent of this event since the day it was announced last March, Norman withdrew Tuesday because of a gastrointestinal ailment. But he and his wife Laura flew here in the morning to show his support for his teammates and the Presidents Cup, as well. He rode around the course in a golf cart, and Price said that "his presence meant a lot to all of us."


In all, eight of the 12 final singles matches went to at least the 18th hole, and as Price said, "the final score didn't show the true intensity of the match. It could have gone either way, that's how close it was."


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In Woburn, England, Ian Woosnam shot a course record-tying 63 Sunday as he raced to victory in the British Masters.


Woosnam won by a hefty four strokes by adding a last round of 67 after starting the final two rounds Sunday in joint 16th place, seven shots off the lead held by Seve Ballesteros.


The Welshman recorded a 17-under-par total of 271. Ballesteros had 275 while Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer shared third spot on 276.


"This is really satisfying," Woosnam, 36, said. "Now I would like to be the World No.1 again but I can only think of that if I keep playing as I am now."