DUBLIN, Ohio — The Presidents Cup ended Sunday the same way it always goes — an American celebration after Tiger Woods delivered the winning point.
Woods’ back flared up on him again in the final hour at Muirfield Village. He still managed to hang on to beat Richard Sterne, 1 up, to give the Americans the 18 points they needed to win the Presidents Cup for the fifth straight time.
It was the third straight Presidents Cup that Woods won the cup-clinching match — all three with Fred Couples as the captain.
“It was a team effort this whole week,” said Woods, who went 4-1 for the best record of any player. “We really played well to give ourselves a nice lead.”
The biggest surprise was not so much the outcome — United States 181⁄2, International 15 1⁄2 — but that the matches ended without going to Monday.
Rain interrupted the matches all week and made the course Jack Nicklaus built so soft that it was mere target practice for the best players in the world outside Europe. The fourth session of foursomes had to be completed Sunday morning because of the delays. That might have been the end of International hopes.
The Americans were 3 down in two matches and turned them into a win and a halve, giving them a 14-8 lead going into the final round. The Americans needed only to win four of the 12 singles matches to keep the gold trophy. It was a little harder than they imagined, though it was a long shot for the Internationals.
“It was a tall order, but they gave it their best shot. These guys played their tails off,” International captain Nick Price said. “We’re a real hodge-podge of a team that came together from four corners of the planet. And they gave the might of America a run for their money.”