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U.S. leads Presidents Cup; Woods loses badly

The United States took the lead after Thursday's opening foursomes of the Presidents Cup, but the battle between Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and caddie Steve Williams was a dud.

The U.S. took a 4-2 lead after the foursomes at Royal Melbourne and that was no thanks to Woods.

He and Steve Stricker were blown out by Scott and K.J. Choi, 7 & 6 in the anchor match. It was not just Woods' worst loss in either a Presidents or Ryder Cup, it equaled the most-lopsided match in Presidents Cup history.

"Unfortunately, they got off to a quick start and we just couldn't keep up," Woods said in a televised interview. "The golf course is so difficult, it's hard to make up shots."

Most of the golf world had its collective eyes on this match considering the recent history between Woods and his former caddie.

After Woods let Williams go, the caddie went to work for Scott and the Aussie captured the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. After the victory, Williams said it was the best win of his career despite being on the bag for 13 of Woods' major titles.

Recently, Williams used racially insensitive language about Woods at a caddie awards dinner. He apologized and cleared the air with Woods, but the two saw each other on the first tee in the anchor match Thursday.

While there were no incidents between Woods and Williams, Woods and Stricker didn't make a birdie at Royal Melbourne and didn't win a hole on Thursday. They were American captain Fred Couples' best team after posting a 4-0 record in team play at the last Presidents Cup two years ago.

The Internationals won the second, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth holes to make the turn 5-up. They captured the 11th and 12th and the shell-shocked Americans were sent home early.

"We just played well," Scott said on TV. "K.J. hit a lot of good shots. I hit a lot of good shots. The other guys obviously didn't play their best today. It's a pleasing victory."

It was also the Internationals' only victory.

Thanks to some gutsy late play from two American teams, they built a comfortable cushion in foursomes, a format they've dominated in this competition.

"It did not look 4-2 an hour-and-a-half ago," admitted Couples in a televised interview.

"We had a good opportunity today," said International captain Greg Norman. "Teams behind after day one are not very good. You've got to look forward, not back."

In the last match on the course Thursday, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar erased a 2-down deficit with two to play to earn a halve against the Australian pair of Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley.

"We hung in there all day and just kept fighting," Johnson said on TV.

Bill Haas and Nick Watney clawed back to halve the International side of Geoff Ogilvy and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. The U.S. duo won the 15th and 16th holes to earn its halve.

The first point of Thursday went to the American side in the first match. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, both Presidents Cup rookies, trounced Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa, 4 & 2.

After Scott and Choi got the Internationals on the board, David Toms and Hunter Mahan pushed the U.S. in front with a 6 & 5 thumping of Kyung-tae Kim and Y.E. Yang.

Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk picked up another point for the Americans with a 4 & 3 victory over Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby. The win and full point made Mickelson the all-time points leader in Presidents Cup history.

NOTES: The team leading after day one is 6-1-1...Mickelson got his 21st point to inch past Vijay Singh...David Frost beat Kenny Perry 7 & 6 in the 1996 singles...Friday's format calls for six four-ball matches and with inclement weather forecast in the afternoon, tee times were moved up to 5:35 p.m. (et) Thursday night...The U.S. has won five of the seven Presidents Cups, including the last one in 2009...There are 34 points at stake, meaning the first team to 17 1/2 wins.