Tiger Woods capped off a big year that began with his 15th major at the Masters by playing and leading his US team to another victory in the Presidents Cup on Sunday at Royal Melbourne.
The first playing captain in 25 years, he opened the 12 singles matches by beating Abraham Ancer to set the Presidents Cup record with his 27th match victory, and set the tone for the rest of his team.
The scoreboard was filled with American red scores all day as they rallied from a two-point deficit to win the Presidents Cup for the eighth-straight time against an International team that faltered at the worst time.
Golf fans erupted over Tiger’s ‘boss move’ when he lifted his hat off before his winning putt dropped against Abraham Ancer. But it turns out Woods was just warming up.
Ancer had previously expressed his desire to match-up against Woods at the Presidents Cup - and Tiger certainly hadn’t forgotten.
"I would like to play against Tiger," Ancer said last month. "But the truth is that our objective is to do everything we can to win. Winning a match in the singles would be very special, so we need to try to get the cup."
Ancer got his wish when Tiger selected himself to face the Mexican player, going on to win 3 and 2.
And didn’t Tiger let Ancer know about it.
"I hit it well this week," said Woods. "I was responsible for three points, JT and I went and got two, and I happened to play well and got Abe today, and, Abe wanted and he got it."
When asked to clarify his comments and if he had heard what Ancer said, Tiger replied: "Yes. Next (question)."
Tiger on cloud nine after epic victory
Woods hugged everyone hard, players and vice captains alike, wearing a smile not seen since he walked off the 18th green at Augusta National after becoming a Masters champion again after injuries that nearly ended his career.
Patrick Reed, whose caddie was benched for shoving a fan who had cursed Reed from close range Saturday, built a 6-up lead through seven holes before eventually putting away C.T. Pan to win for the first time this week. Webb Simpson, who played with Reed as they lost all three team matches, never trailed in beating Byeong Hun An. Everyone on the U.S. team contributed something.
With so much red on the board, Tony Finau might have been his team the biggest boost. He was 4 down through 10 holes against Hideki Matsuyama, won the next four holes and earned a half-point.
The Americans are 11-1-1 in the event. The only International victory was in 1998 at Royal Melbourne.