Presidents Cup: Captain Nick Price praises International comeback
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: October 5, 2013 12:14am
International captain Nick Price praised his team's spirit as they took advantage of a rain delay at the Presidents Cup to get right back into the contest after an early American onslaught.
The home team had led in all six matches at one stage before a 90-minute rain delay hit Muirfield Village, and after the resumption Price's men hit back in style.
In the end, Steve Stricker had to save par from the bunker on the 18th to ensure Fred Couples' America led by just a point at 3.5-2.5.
"Compared to where we were on the front nine, we made a great effort coming back," said Price, who named the same pairings for Friday's foursomes.
"I'm not going to lose faith in those teams. I think they are all ready to take their games to the next level.
"They played some incredible golf. I'm just so proud of the way they brought it back. They showed the true grit and spirit they have."
South African duo
South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel struck a huge blow in beating Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, and former Open winner Oosthuizen admitted the break helped them regroup.
"The break did us really good," Oosthuizen said. "It was good to get a little bit of a break to realize we have to go out there and take it from them. We came back out, felt refreshed and just played well.
"Everyone is focused on what we want to achieve. The point was huge for us. Me and Charl were really pumped. We wanted to get that win. We knew it would get us going and we were really focused."
Jason Day holed out from 15 feet to help him and Graham DeLaet to beat Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan despite being three down early on - and Day thanked his course knowledge as he is a member at Muirfield Village.
"I just knew if I could give myself a putt on the 18th green that I've played here enough to know where the breaks are," Day said. "Moments like that are why you practice so hard."
David Livingstone & Peter Oosterhuis look back on the first day of the Presidents Cup.
Jordan Spieth enjoyed a winning debut alongside Stricker, and the 20-year-old had a baptism of fire as his game went down to the last, where Stricker saved the day with a nerveless par.
"It was obvious that the nerves were affecting me at the start," said Spieth, who made six birdies. "He (Stricker) took care of me at the end, and all in all - you hate to see somebody lose but I couldn't have been happier that he got that up and down.
"It's amazing. It's something that's hard to describe," he said. "When they announce you from the United States of America and you realise that it's the Presidents Cup, and you're standing next to guys like Steve and the best players in the world, it's a feeling that gives me chills now just to talk about."
Veteran Stricker proved to be the ideal partner for Spieth, and the two will play together again in Friday's foursomes.
"I was in a similar spot a few years ago, long time ago, but it's a tough situation, and I thought the pressure was on me to come out and play well and try to make things easy for him, knowing what he was going to be facing throughout the day," said Stricker.
"So it was good that we got off to a good start. I think the rain delay helped us both. I think it helped Jordan here kind of regroup a little bit and same with me. There were a lot of pressure shots coming down to the end, but we were able to prevail."