Dan Fireman, co-Founder of Liberty National Golf Club, takes us on an 18 hole tour of the beautiful Jersey City course with million dollar views of NYC.
USA TODAY Sports
JERSEY CITY — Yogi Berra was wrong — it’s over before it’s over.
Dominating play for the third consecutive day, the U.S. moved within one point of defeating the Internationals in the 12th edition of the Presidents Cup. By winning six of the eight matches on a windy Saturday at Liberty National Golf Club, and halving another match, the Americans took a 14½-3½ lead and need just one point in the 12 singles matches on Sunday.
Considering the Internationals have won just two of the 18 matches played so far, the odds of them winning all 12 matches to win the Cup are longer than the nearby skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan are tall.
The heavily favored U.S., which would move to 10-1-1 in the series with the victory and claim its seventh consecutive triumph, has won each of the four sessions played by at least two points. The most lopsided victory in the series came in 2000 when the U.S. won 21½-10½ in Virginia.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” Dustin Johnson said. “We knew coming into that we had to bring our “A” game. We knew that before the first day, after the first day and after the second day.”
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As they did in the morning, the team of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed put the first afternoon point on the board for the U.S. by winning the last three holes to defeat Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen, 2 and 1. Spieth and Reed improved to 8-1-3 as a team in the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup.
This match, however, was home to one of the day’s few rousing moments. With Day’s short birdie putt already conceded on the 12th hole, Oosthuizen had a putt for eagle while Spieth had a putt for birdie. Oosthuizen’s attempt was bold and rolled well past the hole. But before it came to rest, Spieth scooped the ball up and flipped it to Oosthuizen. Because the ball was still moving, Spieth was ruled to have influenced the ball, even though the ball was well past the hole and had no chance of going in.
Thus, Spieth was disqualified from the hole and not allowed to putt. The Internationals won the hole to take a 1-up lead but couldn’t hold on.
“It’s a bad rule,” Spieth said. “The Internationals wanted to concede the 13th hole. They felt so bad, even though I was a good 12-, 15-foot feet away from the hole. They handled it so well. Obviously we were trying to do the right thing; (but) a rule’s a rule. …
“I was fired up. I hit my next putt on the next hole about eight feet by, really trying to throw it down the throat. Fortunately we both were able to come through and ham-and-egg it nicely coming in and make a comeback.”
Jordan Spieth gestures to fans after an officials’ call near the 12th hole during Four-ball matches of the Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Course on Sept. 30. (Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Close friends Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, who’ve been playing golf together since they were kids, were 3 down after four holes to Hideki Matsuyama and Jhonattan Vegas but won six of the next 12 holes to roll to a 3-and-2 triumph. Berger was the last American to win a point.
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka added the afternoon’s third point to the U.S. total with a 3-and-2 victory against Branden Grace and Marc Leishman. Johnson is 4-0-0 and the top point-getter for the Americans.
The Internationals’ lone win on Saturday was delivered by Si Woo Kim and Anirban Lahiri, who defeated Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell, 1 up.
After being thoroughly whipped the first two days, the Internationals needed something good to happen Saturday morning to cut into their 8-2 deficit. Instead, the Americans ruined their opponents’ morning by winning three of the Foursomes matches and halving the other to up the advantage to 11½-2½.
Spieth and Reed moved to 7-1-3 as a team with a win over Day and Leishman in the opening match. Down 1 after eight holes, Spieth and Reed squared the match on the ninth and won the final four holes in a 4-and-3 victory.
Johnson and Matt Kuchar, who teamed for a victory on Thursday, whipped Adam Scott and Adam Hadwin, 4 and 3, in the second match. The Americans never trailed and won the last two holes, with Kuchar capping the match with a 20-foot birdie on the 15th hole.
Phil Mickelson and Kevin Kisner remained undefeated with a 2-and-1 victory against Emiliano Grillo and Vegas. The Americans trailed for just one hole and won two of the last three holes of the match to close it out.
The lone bright spot for the Internationals came in the morning’s final match when Oosthuizen and Grace pulled out a half point against Thomas and Rickie Fowler.