MELBOURNE, Australia — Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau hailed the “greatest” ever, Tiger Woods, after the superstar helped inspire an eighth consecutive Presidents Cup for the United States.
The USA made history after rallying to beat the Internationals 16-14 in a thrilling finish at Royal Melbourne Golf Club on Sunday.
MORE: Woods celebrates ‘amazing’ USA comeback
The Americans trailed 10-8 before the start of the deciding singles. No team had won the Presidents Cup after being down after three days. The USA, led by playing captain Woods, changed that.
PRESIDENTS CUP: How the U.S. pulled off its historic rally
The USA claimed a record-equaling eight points on Sunday, while Woods surpassed Phil Mickelson for the most Presidents Cup matches won after easing past Abraham Ancer.
I couldn’t have had a better group of guys to be the Captain for. Each and every one of you are what made this week so special for me. I’m incredibly proud of you all and proud to be bringing home the Cup. Go U.S.A.! pic.twitter.com/bR2UXhDnAf
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) December 15, 2019
While it was a collective effort, the star-studded USA team showered Woods in praise, with the 15-time major champion flawless throughout the 13th edition of the event.
Speaking with a large grin on his face, Kuchar told reporters: “It was pretty awesome to play for the greatest player ever. To have a chance to make a team captained by the greatest player ever that is also a player on the team.
“I can’t tell you how unique, how cool of a thing that is, to not only play for him, but alongside of him. And so for us, you know, to be in a hole, to come back and win this thing was such a thrill. One, to win it as a team, but to do it with Tiger Woods as our captain was just a huge thrill.”
“It was really cool being part of this team and having Tiger as captain in that you get Tiger to speak up a little more,” Kuchar added. “I think a lot of our teams as a player, you let the captain captain and the players play, and to get Tiger to speak up, I mean, we had a room full of some of the greatest golfers in the world, and when he speaks, we all listen. It was awesome to be a part of.
“I think all of us will look back and have these pictures hanging on our walls and say, we played for and alongside Tiger Woods, the greatest player ever. It was awesome. And to have him take that role, take that mantle as captain, was great fun to be part of.”
Finau, who came from 4 down to tie with Hideki Matsuyama, said: “Tiger, the story of his resilience, coming back from what he has with injuries and everything that he’s been through, I think each of us, we just believe in each other because we know we could do what we did today, and we really believed that we could win the Cup.
“We were kind of against the odds, but I couldn’t give up on my teammates and my captains and I know everybody on this team felt the same way. But we are very inspired to play for Tiger, with Tiger, and it’s so satisfying to win this cup because of that. I think we all believe in each other and we were able to get the job done for our captain and playing captain.”
The Internationals were seeking their first Presidents Cup title since they triumphed in Melbourne in 1998. Woods was on that losing team 21 years ago.
“I’ve been a part of teams before where we have won,” Woods said. “Also been a part of, unfortunately, this Presidents Cup when we lost 21 years ago, and so to come here and to do it in this fashion, to do it with this team, in particular, it was an honor for me as a player and even more of an honor to be their captain.”
Woods showed plenty of emotion as the USA maintained its stranglehold on the Presidents Cup. He told a news conference: “I’ve cried in pretty much every cup we’ve won. I’ve been doing this a long time. Any time you have moments where you’re able to do something that is bigger than us as an individual, is so much more meaningful and so much more special.”