MELBOURNE, Australia — United States captain Tiger Woods roared in a scintillating display and Justin Thomas was under no illusions who inspired the pair’s victory at the Presidents Cup.
Thomas took a back seat in the opening four-ball matchup on Thursday as Woods birdied six holes against Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann for a 4 and 3 win.
After birdieing his first two holes on Day 1 of the 13th Presidents Cup in Melbourne, 15-time major champion Woods sensationally chipped in for birdie on the fifth.
Woods’ masterclass continued with further birdies on holes 11, 14 and 15 to secure the first point at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Thomas hailed the red-hot performance, with the USA eyeing an eighth consecutive Presidents Cup triumph.
“He played great today. It’s no coincidence why we won,” Thomas said after the win. “He really carried me out there, and you know, it was a tough day out there, and to have as many birdie putts as he had on a couple holes was the reason we won the match.”
Thomas added: “Tiger was working so well between the two of us today. He played great. I mean, I just didn’t really take advantage of the opportunities, but that’s what you have a partner for.
“It was awesome. It’s nice knowing when I step up on a par-3 or a par-4 that I feel free just because I know he’s playing well, and he did.”
Before taking on his captain responsibilities, with his player portion done, Woods said: “Well, it was important for us and the USA.
“J.T. and I went out there and partnered up well. Got off to a quick start and got up on them early, and kind of held on from there.”