10 Notes to Know: December 16, 2019

December 16, 2019
Justin Ray
  1. The United States rallied from a two-point deficit entering singles play to win the Presidents Cup, 16-14. It was the first time in the event’s history that a team trailed entering singles play and won the competition. The U.S. improved to 11 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie all-time in the Presidents Cup.
  1. Winning captain Tiger Woods was the only player to go unbeaten and untied in the event, winning all three matches he played. Woods became the first player to win a major and captain a winning Cup team (Presidents or Ryder) in the same year since Jerry Barber did it in 1961.
  1. Tiger knocked off Presidents Cup rookie Abraham Ancer in singles play, 3 and 2. Ancer put up a valiant effort against the legend despite his relative inexperience: in their respective PGA Tour careers, Woods has 82 wins, while Ancer has played in just 83 tournaments.
  1. The International team orchestrated quite a turnaround from their loss in this event in 2017: at Liberty National, the Cup was clinched in just the fourth singles match. Sunday in Australia, the Cup was clinched in the second-to-last match.
  1. Sungjae Im was a star for the International side, earning 3½ points for the week. Im tied the International team record for most points won by a captain’s pick, joining Mike Weir in 2007.
  1. More on Tiger: it was the second time in his Presidents Cup career that he posted a perfect record; he went 5-0-0 back in 2009. Woods’ singles win against Ancer was his 27th career match victory, breaking Phil Mickelson’s Presidents Cup record.
  1. For the second consecutive year, Justin Thomas was the leading points-earner for the Americans in a Cup event. At last year’s Ryder Cup, JT earned four points, while he racked up 3½ at Royal Melbourne. The previous player to be the leading point-getter for the U.S. side in consecutive Cup events was Tiger at the 2009 Presidents and 2010 Ryder Cups.
  1. Though they came up short in the end, the International side reversed some giant trends in this event. Entering the week, they had not led following any Presidents Cup session since 2005. They led after each of the first four sessions this week at Royal Melbourne.
  1. Cameron Smith had a good week for the Internationals, capping it off with a singles win over Thomas. Smith has a chance for history in his home country this week as he looks to win his third consecutive Australian PGA Championship. The only player to win that event three straight years is Dan Soutar, who won in 1905, 1906 and 1907 (the first three editions of the Championship).
  1. Two-time PGA Tour winner Cameron Champ is among the U.S. contingent at the Australian PGA Championship. Two American players have won the event all-time: Hale Irwin in 1978 and Harold Varner III in 2016.

This will be the last ’10 Notes to Know’ of 2019. We will return on January 6.

Look for our ‘Stats of the Year’ column on Wednesday, and on December 30, Tiger Woods’ 44th birthday, our look at the 44 most incredible statistics of Woods’ career.