Jersey City, September 29
The start of the Presidents Cup gave golf a new Big Three former Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton posing with players and wives of each team in an opening ceremony unlike any other.
It was the first time the Presidents Cup, named after the highest office in the land, has had three US Presidents attending the matches together since the event began in 1994.
The U-shaped grandstands around the first tee at Liberty National were at capacity more than an hour before the first tee time. Most of the players were warming up on the range.
Phil Mickelson, in the fifth and final match, came over early to clasp hands with all three. Then, the five-time Major champion took out his phone for a selfie he might not get again.
He’s better at golf. Mickelson only got part of his face and said later, “I’m so bad at selfies.” But he knows a big moment. “How can you not do that when you have three of our Presidents?” Mickelson said. “And their presence really means a lot to this event. That’s what it’s about. It’s the Presidents Cup. And for those three to come here and be a part of it was very special, and I just took advantage of the opportunity.”
The loudest cheers were for Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, who along with Arnold Palmer were the Big Three during one of the early growth periods in golf. Palmer died a year ago.
And then the US presidents filled the box.
Mickelson got his selfie, and before long other players and assistant captains filed over to see the Presidents. They stepped out of the box to stand to the back of the tee as Charl Schwartzel of South Africa and Rickie Fowler hit the respective opening tee shots.
Lahiri sits out on first day
Anirban Lahiri sat out on the first day but he was named to play the four-ball alongside South African Charl Schwartzel on the second day. The US won three of five foursomes matches, and halved another, to enjoy a 3-1/2 to 1-1/2 advantage against the International team in strong and gusty winds that made club selection difficult. — AP