The Internationals got off to the perfect start in day one of the 2019 Presidents Cup, winning four points to the USA's one. It certainly wasn't the result many were expecting, but Ernie Els' plans for a fast start went just the way he wanted.
Tiger Woods led by example as a playing captain, winning the USA's only point of the day alongside Justin Thomas. The two went out in the first match on Thursday, up against Australian Marc Leishman and Presidents Cup rookie, Joaquin Niemann.
The 15-time major champion got off to a fast start, with birdies at three of the first five holes. Woods left himself a tap in for birdie at the first and chipped in for another at the par-3 fifth.
Niemann started poorly but won the sixth and seventh holes, but the Internationals found themselves two down at the turn and they failed to get any closer, eventually losing 4 and 3 the the American duo.
The victory for Woods and Thomas was Woods' first win in five fourball matches at Royal Melbourne, leaving him with a 1-4 fourball record at the Australian course.
“Tiger was working so well between the two of us today. He played great,” Thomas said. “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.
The match wasn't without controversy though, as Niemann was seen motioning towards Woods to hurry up as he was getting frustrated with the length of time his opponent was taking on the greens.
Niemann motioning for Tiger to speed up pic.twitter.com/ewIMpRMupU— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) December 12, 2019
Golf fans on Twitter then had a field day, all at Niemann's expense.
Well we know who niemann is getting in singles. #RIP— Trevor Austin (@nottaustin1) December 12, 2019
Was such a talent. I’ll miss him.— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) December 12, 2019