MELBOURNE, Australia — Tiger Woods has won plenty of historic events in his golf career: 15 major championships and a record-tying 82 tour events. But it was clear by his tears, winning the Presidents Cup in his first time as captain was as meaningful as anything he has ever achieved.

The tears flowed when the Americans clinched their eighth consecutive victory in the Presidents Cup after Matt Kuchar took a 1-up lead with one hole to play on Louis Oosthuizen to assure the U.S of the half-point it needed to ensure victory. The score would end up 16-14 in favor of the Americans, who rallied from a 10-8 deficit after three days of play to win eight of the 12 singles matches and capture the Cup.

“I’ve been part of teams before where we have won. I’ve also been part of a Presidents Cup when we lost 21 years ago,” Woods said. “So to come here and to do it in this fashion, to do it with this team in particular, it was an honor for me as a player and even more of an honor to be their captain.”

Woods, the first playing captain since Hale Irwin in 1994, set the tone by leading off and defeating a red-hot Abraham Ancer in the opening match, 3 and 2, and watched as his players refused to let down a man who was a childhood idol to many of them.

“It was pretty awesome to play for the greatest player ever that is also a player on the team,” Kuchar said. “I can’t tell you how unique, how cool of a thing that is, to not only play for him, but alongside him.” To come back and win this thing was such a thrill. One to win it as a team, but to do it with Tiger Woods as our captain was just a huge thrill.”

Great players aren’t always great coaches, managers or captains. Their expectations of their players to “do as I do” doesn’t always translate. But Woods, who was engaged from the outset, didn’t let his persona dominate the team. Instead, his constant reassurance that they were among the greatest players in the world resonated with those who didn’t want to let him down.

“Someone who has done as much as he has and had as much experience as he had in all these team events, he very easily could have tried to take over the team room or try to give all this advice and try to do so much,” Justin Thomas said. “He was like, look, including himself, we have 12 of the best players in the world. He just needed to get out of the way and that’s what he did.”

Winning the Presidents Cup as captain completes a magical year for Woods. Two years removed from a DWI arrest and his career derailed by back injuries, Woods won his fifth Green Jacket in April, tied Sam Snead with his 82nd Tour victory in October and now has a victory as the Presidents Cup captain.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Woods said. “Any time you have moments where you’re able to do something that is bigger than us as an individual is so much more meaningful and so much more special.”

Tony Finau admitted when he was 4-down after nine holes in his match to Hideki Matsuyama, he thought about how Woods fought through injuries and personal struggles and never gave up on himself. Finau didn’t give up against Matsuyama and salvaged a valuable tie for a half-point.

“I basically told myself I can’t give up on my teammates or my captain,” Finau said. “Tiger is a story of resilience, coming back from what he has with injuries and everything that he’s been through. We are very inspired to play for Tiger with Tiger and it’s so satisfying to win this Cup because of that.”

Woods was the only player to go unbeaten in the Presidents Cup. His three points made him the biggest winner in Cup history at 27-15-1.

“I think all of us will look back and have these pictures hanging on our walls and say we played for and alongside Tiger Woods, the great player ever,” Kuchar said. “It was awesome.”

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