Tie doesn't tarnish a great Presidents Cup

Originally Published: November 25, 2003
By Andy North | ESPN.com

As someone who's played in team events and has been in position to win or lose a Ryder Cup, I could really feel for both Tiger Woods and Ernie Els at the Presidents Cup on Sunday. I think calling it a draw was the right thing to do.

Their three-hole playoff to decide the Cup was something pretty special. The knee-knocking putts each made on the final two playoff holes were huge. For Ernie to make his 12-footer at the second extra hole and Tiger to make his 18-footer at the third was just incredible play under incredible pressure. After that, it was absolutely the perfect thing for captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to step in and say, "Guys this is nuts. Let's call it a tie and get on outta here."

People have no idea what it's like to be in that situation. To have a putt to win the U.S. Open or Masters, that's pressure. But to have putts like Tiger and Ernie had where the fate of your whole team and the country you're representing are at stake, that's a different animal entirely. I was in that position in 1985, when I made a bogey at the final hole to lose my singles match to Sam Torrance, and we went on to lose the Ryder Cup to the Europeans for the first time in almost 30 years.

The interviews with Davis Love III speak to how important the event was in the eyes of the players. As he and Robert Allenby were locked in the final match of the day on Sunday (with the teams all square), Love said he knew it really meant something when all of a sudden he noticed all the players from both teams walking along the fairways watching he and Allenby finish up and rooting them on.

The quality of golf last week in South Africa was incredible. Some of the shots that were hit, some of the putts that were made, were really something.

Does it tarnish the quality of the event at all that it ended in a tie? No way. This is a competition, but more than that it's an exhibition to show off our sport and the good things it can be. The best features of our sport came to light, and that's what's so great. The guys grinded and tried their butts off, but when all was said and done they shook hands and walked off happy with the result.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North serves as an analyst for ESPN.

Andy North joined ESPN as an on-course golf reporter in September, 1992. He serves as both an analyst and a reporter in ESPN's championship golf coverage as well as analyst for ESPN's preview shows and SportsCenter reports from major tournaments.