DUBLIN, Ohio — His team lost, but Graham DeLaet won a lot of admirers.
The Canadian made a lot of friends and headlines with his play in the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village.
DeLaet led the International side with 3 1/2 points after posting a 3-1-1 record.
He paired with Jason Day to win both of their fourballs matches, then the two halved with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a foursomes match completed Sunday morning.
DeLaet saved the day by chipping in for birdie on the final hole.
“It was unbelievable,” DeLaet said about the shot. “Just one of the coolest feelings in my life, really.”
Then DeLaet beat another rookie at international competition, Jordan Spieth, in singles. He sealed his 1-up victory, again on the 18th hole and again with another hole-out, this one by blasting out of the gaping bunker left of the green.
He was draped in the Canadian flag as he left the green.
“Pretty crazy finish the last two times here,” he said. “I executed them both well, but there’s some luck involved as well. I mean, it’s super exciting to finish like that. To win the match here and then to halve the match this morning, it makes it even better.”
DUELING FANS: The International side was outnumbered in cheers, but made up for it with color and wit.
There were two classic lines by the Aussie-based team-support group, The Fanatics, on Sunday.
As Jason Dufner readied to hit his opening drive in singles, wife Amanda walked into the gallery ringing the tee.
The Fanatics, dressed in yellow and green to back the International side, immediately broke out in the chorus of, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”
When several of the red-white-and-blue clad American Outlaws fans began chanting, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” the Fanatics countered by reciting, “ABCDEFG ...”
The U.S. contingent of fans also scored some points, however.
When 46-year-old Steve Stricker, who had partnered with the 20-year-old Spieth in the first three rounds, came to the tee, the Outlaws sang, “He’s big, he’s bad, he could be Jordan Spieth’s dad, Steve Strick-er, Steve Strick-er.”
After Bill Haas walked to the tee, one enterprising but off-key singer offered, “Well, he’s a Bill, Haaas” a riff on Brick House by the Commodores.
Not long after that, U.S. captain Fred Couples walked over to the partisan fan contingent in the stands and flipped a U.S. warmup jacket at the singer.
Finally, all week fans had provoked a reaction from players by shouting, “Raise your hand if you’ve won a major!” They did it to get a smiling Adam Scott to raise his hand almost every day.
Standing near the first tee and welcoming each of the players was 18-time major winner, Muirfield Village designer and unofficial Presidents Cup host Jack Nicklaus.
The fans broke up when someone shouted, “Raise your hand if you’ve won 18 majors!”
STRANGE PAIRING: Perhaps the oddest singles pairing was Tiger Woods, tops in the world rankings, going up against No. 41 Richard Sterne.
The galleries and media were clamoring for Woods to play Scott, No. 2 in the world, or maybe a wily veteran like Angel Cabrera, winner of a couple of major championships during the Woods era.
Instead they got a little (5-foot-7, 150 pounds) and little known South African against the man who makes headlines with everything he does and says.
“It’s when people want to go,” U.S. captain Fred Couples said. “People just asked me, ‘Why did you put Tiger up against Richard?’ Personally, Tiger has talked a little about Richard and his game this week. They have not played each other. But it just came to the point where Tiger goes anywhere from seventh to ninth in the singles (so his point will still matter) and we just didn’t want to wait any longer. So we put him there.”
Still, Woods needed to go to the final hole and the final putt to hold off Sterne 1-up, also clinching the Cup for the United States.
“We made the pairings this morning to try to win the Cup,” Price said. “Not to put 1 and 2 together, or 3 and 4 together.”
NICK THE FATALIST: His International team trailed 14-8 heading into singles and captain Nick Price knew enough about international competition to recognize the U.S. lead was virtually insurmountable.
Price was emotional as he talked about his team, what it had done so far, and what it would face in singles.
“This has been a really, really strong team from the get-go,” he said. “As I look back, they have played their tails off this week. They have played really, really hard. It’s disappointing to go into today with a 6-point deficit.
“I’m trying to stay up for my players because they are the ones who have done all the playing, not me. I’ve been out there on the sideline trying to cheer them on. But, you know, it’s going to be a tough day.”
It was a tough day in terms of the final result. But his team ended up winning 7 ½ of the 12 points in singles.
THE WEATHER: It rained, hard at times Sunday, but say this much for the competitors at the Presidents Cup — they played on.
Tiger Woods was playing the third and fourth holes when it began to rain so hard that it was difficult to even see 300 yards up the fairway. But he and Sterne continued on, as did every one of the other 22 players on the course.
The sun never made an appearance, but the temperatures stayed in the 70s and the fans remained supportive.