Internationals dilemma

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The scoreboard was red, the knuckles were white and the Internationals wound up blue.

That summed up Day 1 of the Presidents Cup as Team USA thrashed the International squad 51/2-1/2 in the opening six foursome matches.

In fact, only an admirable concession by the team of Phil Mickelson and Woody Austin -- they gave Vijay Singh and Canadian Mike Weir about a four-foot putt on the 18th hole that halved their match -- kept the Internationals from being shut out yesterday.

"I wouldn't say we're down. Pissed off is more the word," said the Internationals' Adam Scott. "If anything, it's got people pretty fired up for (today). There's stuff to sort out and a job to be done.

"If anyone was dragging their chin on the ground, he was told to pick it up quick and look forward to (today)."

BALLS IN THE DRINK

On a day where the quality of the play was as dull as the leaden skies -- these guys hit more balls in the water than Barry Bonds -- the Americans were just a little less, well, bad.

There were seven balls hit in the water on the closing holes at Royal Montreal and the Internationals got the worst of it. The matches were actually closer than the score indicates. Four of the matches got to the 18th hole, but the Internationals only had that half point to show for it --and that was given to them.

The only time a team has been shut out in a session was in 1998 in South Africa when the Internationals hung a 6-0 collar on the Americans in Saturday four-balls.

The American team of Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan started the rout and the Tiger Woods-Charles Howell III combo finished it.

"Before we teed up, we were up in three matches and that's huge before you even tee it up, to see red already in the first four or five holes," said Woods, who, along with Howell, defeated K.J. Choi and Nick O'Hern (who had beaten Woods twice in match play), 3 and 1.

Weir, with the enthusiastic support of the crowd, overcame a slow start -- he didn't hit a good shot until the sixth hole -- but he and Singh wound up having to settle for a half after blowing a 3-up lead through 11 holes.

They led 1-up after Singh holed from a greenside bunker on the 16th hole, but Mickelson drained a birdie putt on 17.

WEIR JOINING ELS

The Internationals will try to take back some momentum today in the four-balls. Weir will be teamed up with Ernie Els against Howell and Zach Johnson.

Both teams will try to put yesterday's scratchy play behind them.

"I think it's just the nature of foursomes," said Woods. "Foursomes is a strange animal. When you get rolling, it's the greatest format in the world. But when things start going awry, it's amazing how it just snowballs so quickly because you don't have a chance to re-right yourself right away with your own game.

"You're waiting, you may not have to hit a putt, you may not have to hit an iron shot, you may not have to hit a drive and all of a sudden, you're counted upon."

Woods will be teamed with Jim Furyk today against Singh and Stuart Appleby.

The other four-ball matches will see Mickelson and Hunter Mahan take on Angel Cabrera and Retief Goosen; Steve Stricker and Scott Verplank of the U.S. against Adam Scott and K.J. Choi and Woody Austin and David Toms against Internationals Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.


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