Presidents Cup
Presidents Cup
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Title is shared in confusing finale

The fifth Presidents Cup ended in disarray in gathering gloom on Sunday before team captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player finally agreed the trophy would be shared for the first time.

American world number one Tiger Woods and world number three Ernie Els had parred the first three extra holes in an unprecedented playoff for the title before it became too dark to continue at Fancourt's Link course.

Nicklaus and Player conferred for some time with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, as well as with their team members, before agreement was reached.

"In the spirit of the game, my guys have agreed that we will share the Cup," said Nicklaus, who had earlier reminded Player that three-times winners the United States, as holders, would retain the trophy.

At that point the Internationals camp indicated through South African Player they would carry on but, after more talks, the compromise was reached.

Player said: "Jack said his team would agree with the tie and we both hold the Cup."

Nicklaus added: "I have never seen two teams that played harder, played better and I could not find a team that deserved to lose.

"We agreed to share the Presidents Cup, and I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. Competition is about good will."

Els had lost to Woods in the last-day singles but held his nerve in the three extra holes. The South African had to make a 10-footer at the second and Woods a high-pressure putt from 15 feet at the par-three third playoff hole.

The pair were selected for the sudden-death decider after both teams finished regulation play deadlocked on 17 points. The Americans mounted a stirring fightback by winning seven and sharing one of the 12 last-day singles.

Woods, displaying his best form of the week, beat Els 4 and 3 and Chris DiMarco won the penultimate tie one up against Australia's Stuart Appleby to leave the teams level on 16-1/2 points with just one match out on the course.

With dusk fast approaching, Davis Love III went one up with two holes to play after Australia's Robert Allenby hit his second shot at the par-five 16th into a bush.

Both players parred the 191-yard 17th but Love duffed a chip from just in front of the green at the last, and failed to get up and down in five before conceding the hole for a half, setting up the Cup's dramatic finale.

The Americans had gone into the final day trailing by three points but U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk produced pinpoint accuracy off the tee on his way to a 3 and 1 victory over U.S. Masters winner Mike Weir of Canada.

Cup rookie Charles Howell III then outplayed a struggling Adam Scott of Australia 5 and 4 before South Korea's K.J. Choi scored a 4 and 2 victory over 1997 British Open champion Justin Leonard.

Jerry Kelly holding of the U.S. held off a fast-finishing Tim Clark of South Africa by a hole and 49-year-old veteran Jay Haas eased to a 4 and 3 win over Australia's Stephen Leaney.

Australia's Peter Lonard collected a second win for the Internationals, beating Fred Funk 4 and 3 before big-hitting Kenny Perry drew the Americans level on 14-1/2 points after edging a tense battle with Nick Price one up.

South African Retief Goosen mixed seven birdies with an eagle-three at the 13th to complete a 2 and 1 win over Phil Mickelson and Fiji's Vijay Singh outplayed David Toms 4 and 3 to leave the Internationals just one point short of victory.

 

 

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