- Associated Press - Monday, October 7, 2013

DUBLIN, OHIO (AP) - The Presidents Cup is more of an exhibition than a competition, even on that rare occasion when the matches are competitive.

That only becomes a problem if nothing has changed 20 years from now.

A bigger issue would be if the quality of golf suffered.

Look beyond a week of rain that turned Muirfield Village into target practice. Try to forget the disjointed nature of this Presidents Cup when players twice had to return the next morning to complete matches, even though it was darker than when they had stopped the night before.


Zach Johnson closed out one match with a wedge from 115 yards that spun into the cup for eagle.

Remember that time at Harding Park when Tiger Woods laced a 3-iron into the 18th green that was so pure he twirled the club and stretched out both arms as he walked after the shot? This time it was a fairway metal into the 15th, and he crouched for a below-the-belt, double fist pump when it plopped down 4 feet below the hole.

Graham DeLaet twice holed shots for birdie on the 18th green _ on the same day. He knocked in a bunker shot Sunday afternoon to close out 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. That morning, the Canadian chipped in for birdie from the front of the green.

“No one ever practices that shot because the ball never stays there,” Keegan Bradley said.

Bradley followed that chip-in birdie with a 10-foot birdie putt of his own, set up by one of the best shots of the week. Phil Mickelson had to play a hook with the ball below his feet to get around a tree and up the hill to a pin 190 yards away. He shut the face of a 7-iron and stuck it in the tiny, right corner of the 18th green.

Yes, it was a real exhibition of golf, as it usually is in these formats.

But a competition?

The United States won (again), 18 1/2-15 1/2, an outcome that could be considered close only with a little imagination.

The Americans assured themselves a tie when Johnson defeated Branden Grace for the 17th point. It took more than an hour until Woods beat Richard Sterne on the 18th hole for the winning point. The Americans won for the fifth straight time and improved to 8-1-1.

“We all know how close it really was,” Jack Nicklaus said before handing the gold trophy to the American team.

International captain Nick Price wasn’t so sure.

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