Presidents Cup: Tiger Woods wins, but US team struggles

US team captain Tiger Woods promised his side is still “ready to go” despite falling 4-1 behind on the opening day of the Presidents Cup.

Partnered with Justin Thomas, Woods secured his team’s only victory in the fourballs session as the International team established a healthy lead at Royal Melbourne, Australia.

However, the 15-time major champion believes his US outfit can come back against Ernie Els’ side, which features the cream of players outside Europe.

“This is a long four days. I mean, we have to go earn this Cup. Just because we lost the session doesn’t mean the Cup’s over,” Woods told reporters.

“There’s a long way to go. A lot of points available. The guys will regroup and we’ll come out tomorrow ready to go.”

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It had all started so well for debutant captain Woods, who teamed up with world No.4 Thomas to beat Australian Marc Leishman and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann 4<><><><>&3./ppHowever, Woods could only watch as Els’ underdog gained momentum and ripped through his more experienced side./ppBryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau lost 2<><><><>1 to Australia’s Adam Scott and South Korea’s An Byeong-hun, while Canadian Adam Hadwin and South Korea’s Im Sung-jae earned a hard-fought 1 up win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay./ppThe day only got worse for the Americans as the controversial a href=”” target=”_blank”Patrick Reed/a and Webb Simpson lost 1 down to Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Taiwan’s CT Pan before South African Louis Oosthuizen and Mexican Abraham Ancer saw off Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland 4<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>3./ppReed received a number of jeers in the wake of his two-shot penalty for illegally brushing sand away from his ball with two practice swings at the Hero World Challenge in Bermuda last week./ppThe row continued in Melbourne as 2018 Masters champion Reed was forced to defend himself again, saying: “I wasn’t trying to improve a lie. If you break the rules unintentionally, it’s not cheating.”/ppHowever, Reed was criticized by a number of the International team players, including Cameron Smith, who said he “doesn’t have any sympathy for anyone that cheats.”/ppAfter attempting draw a line under that issue, Woods now faces the task of dragging his team back into the competition, which is similar to the Ryder Cup between the US and Europe./ppThe USA is defending Presidents Cup champion and has won 10 of the previous 12 events since its inception in 1994./pp”This is the start we needed,” said home hero Scott, the 2013 Masters champion./pp”We haven’t seen this for a while. We’ve got to try to keep this lead now as long as possible, and hopefully the week runs out.”/p