“We’re still in pretty good shape,” Price said. “If we can turn one of these games around tomorrow, it would make our life a lot easier going into singles.”
But not that easy. The Americans have a 5-1-3 advantage in the singles session at the Presidents Cup, the only loss coming in 2007 at Royal Montreal when they started the final round with a seven-point lead.
The International team was doing well to stay in range until one session put it in a big hole.
The long day began with the Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman coming up with big shots late for a 2-and-1 win, which enabled the Internationals to scratch out a 3-3 draw in foursomes that began on Friday. It was the first time since 2005 that the Internationals did not lose a foursomes session.
But in fourballs, everything changed. Mickelson and Bradley made seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch to go from 2 down to a 2-and-1 win over Els and de Jonge. Woods and Kuchar were never in control of their match against Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama until Woods took over.
He hit an approach into 5 feet for birdie on the 13th, Kuchar finally made a putt with a 7-foot birdie on the 14th and Woods drilled that fairway metal into the 15th for eagle. He crouched and extended his arms as he marched along, and the 2-up lead was too much for the International side to overcome.
Woods was not made available for interviews. The second of two questions on a transcript the PGA Tour distributed mentioned that he was 3-0 and asked how his week was going so far.
“So far 3-0,” Woods replied.
The Americans wound up going 4-1 in the fourballs scheduled for Saturday morning. It was the most lopsided session this week, but it was enough to make the International team face another tough climb if it wants to take home the gold cup it has won only one time - 15 years ago.
“We had close games that went the U.S. way,” Price said.
The lone International win in fourballs came from Jason Day and Graham DeLaet, who gave Stricker and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth their first loss. The American tandem of young and old - Stricker at 46 is the oldest player on either team - fell behind for the first time all week. Stricker’s birdie on the 15th tied the match, only for DeLaet to stuff his tee shot into 6 feet for birdie on the 16th for a lead they held.
Dufner sat out the morning balls. Mahan, along with Spieth, sat out in the afternoon. U.S. captain Fred Couples was pleased that both contributed when it was their turn to play.
He has gotten that out of all his players - each one has contributed at least a point his week. On the International side, Branden Grace and Richard Sterne have been shut out. Sterne was with Leishman in the afternoon foursomes. They were 2 up through seven holes until Johnson and Dufner won six out of the next eight for another American point.