A late fightback – including a stirring singles victory by Victorian Marc Leishman – was not enough to prevent the US from defeating the Internationals in the Presidents Cup and maintain their extraordinary dominance in the event.
The US had led throughout the event before facing a challenge on the final day when once again Tiger Woods sealed victory when he beat South African Richard Sterne on the last hole.
Woods’ 1-up victory at Muirfield Village in Ohio allowed the US to take out the Cup for the eighth time in 10 editions. They eventually held on to win 18.5 to 15.5 but players had to return to the course early on Sunday to complete the foursomes which had been delayed by bad weather.
It appeared as if the Internationals were set to cut back their deficit when they managed to hold the lead in all five matches the previous day but in the end won just one, lost three and halved the other.
"We were all a little down in the room this morning after the finish of the team matches," Internationals captain Nick Price said.
However they rebounded in a last gasp bid to overhaul the star-studded US team. Down 14-8 in the singles and needing 10 wins to triumph, the visitors reeled in the Americans but ran out of time.
With three matches left in play and the Internationals needing to win all of them, Woods stepped in and put the tournament beyond doubt.
US Masters champion Adam Scott finished with a 2-2-1 record, while Leishman beat Matt Kuchar to finish his appearance as a Presidents Cup rookie with the impressive figures of 2-2-0.
"For a little while there I thought we just might do it," Scott said. "Our rally this week in a couple of the sessions, and particularly today, showed how much fight we’ve all got in us.
"We all wanted this badly and we kept it very interesting today."
Jason Day, who lives in Ohio and is a member at Muirfield, teamed up with Canadian Graham DeLaet for a 3-1-1 record.
Day posted the first singles point on Sunday with an effortless 6 and 4 win over Brandt Snedeker to start the surge.
"We had them thinking there for a second and they were all smiles a few hours earlier," Day said.
"We played well, they just played better than us. I knew it would take a big push from the Internationals to win but I just wanted to finish my second Presidents Cup with a bang.
"I just wish it was a little bit closer."
Woods, battling a sore back, clinched the winning point for the third consecutive Cup.
It was also the third consecutive year that Fred Couples has been the US captain.
"It feels good. It was a team effort this whole week," Woods said. "We really played well, and gave ourselves a really nice lead going into the singles, and it was a tough day, tough conditions, rain, wind. It was tough all around."
Couples, who said he has captained his last Presidents Cup, said he kept wondering "where is the fourth point coming from." Woods, though, delivered when needed against his South African opponent.
Said Couples: "At no time was I a nervous wreck, but it was nice when Tiger two-putted that last green to get the 18th point."
By: Robert Grant