MELBOURNE, Australia -- Captain Tiger Woods made the surprising decision to keep himself on the bench Saturday at the Presidents Cup, despite his strong play over the first two days and the sizable deficit facing his American team.
Woods, who won his Thursday and Friday matches with partner Justin Thomas, sat out the Saturday morning four-ball session that the International side dominated, increasing its lead to 9-5 with the afternoon foursomes to be played.
The U.S. showed some fight in the afternoon session, but the International team will take a 10-8 lead into Sunday singles.
Cool, misty temperatures might have had something to do with his decision, but Woods said he was not injured.
"You have to do what's best for the team, and I'm getting ready for the singles tomorrow,'' Woods said.
Asked if assistant captains Steve Stricker, Fred Couples and Zach Johnson tried to talk him out of sitting, Woods added: "Well, I tried to talk myself out of it, too. But it is what is. We're going to go out there and try and get some points today and be ready for tomorrow.''
Ernie Els, the International team captain, was also mystified by Woods' decision.
"Especially the way he's been playing with JT [Thomas],'' Els said. "JT has been rock-solid on their side, and looks like he's teaming well with Rickie Fowler. But yeah I thought Tiger would play this afternoon.''
Thomas and Fowler won their morning four-ball match and are playing again against Marc Leishman and Abraham Ancer. Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland, who sat out the morning session, are playing against Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott. Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, who lost to Sung-jae Im and Ancer, will play against Im and Cameron Smith. And the team of Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau will take on Ben An and Joaquin Niemann.