GEORGE, South Africa Jack Nicklaus felt apologetic as he stood on the first tee Saturday, his U.S. team holding a big lead and poised to turn the Presidents Cup into a rout.
Looking over at International team captain Gary Player, he shrugged and said, ''It's a funny game. We got you guys pretty good yesterday, but it could turn around.''
Nicklaus was just trying to be nice.
The International team was anything but that.
From Ernie Els to Vijay Singh, the International team battered the Americans for a sweep of the six better-ball matches, a phenomenal display of golf in smoky, windy conditions that left the Americans on the verge of losing another cup.
''We got our butts kicked,'' Nicklaus said.
The International team seized a 12 1/2-9 1/2 lead, and now needs only to win five of the 12 singles matches to win the Presidents Cup for the second time.
''This was a dream day for us,'' Nick Price said.
Els improved to 4-0 on the Links Course at Fancourt by teaming with Tim Clark. They led 3-up after four holes and won, 3 and 2, over Jim Furyk and Jay Haas.
Singh and Retief Goosen were simply brilliant down the stretch, finishing with five straight birdies for a 2-and-1 victory over Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III.
Woods is 0-6 in better-ball matches in the Presidents Cup.
The International team went up early and won big, with only one match reaching the 18th.
Els stood behind the 17th green, clapping his hands over his head as he watched his team complete only the third sweep at the Presidents Cup.
''I never would have imagined this,'' he said. ''Against this team? Are you kidding?''
Els invited teammates to his beach house for a barbecue Friday night, and rumor has it he fed them a plate full of spinach.
''Steaks, baby,'' Els said with his easy smile. ''Good food, the fresh sea air. We really didn't talk about golf last night. But I think everybody had today on their minds.''
The International team responded in swift and shocking fashion at a course shrouded in smoke from a brush fire in the Outeniqua Mountains.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Annika Sorenstam, recovered from the eye infection that ailed her the first two days, shot 5-under-par 67 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the ADT Championship.
Sorenstam is going for her seventh win on tour this year and back-to-back titles at the LPGA Tour's season-ending tournament, limited to the top 30 on the money list.
Cristie Kerr (71) and Meg Mallon (72) moved to 2 under and are Sorenstam's closest pursuers at Trump International Golf Course.
MIYAZAKI, Japan Sergio Garcia had six birdies for a 4-under 67 and took a three-stroke lead after three rounds in the Dunlop Phoenix tournament.
Garcia, at 15-under 198, birdied the 16th and 18th holes at the 6,917-yard, par-71 Phoenix Country Club. Thomas Bjorn, one stroke back after two rounds, is second at 12-under 201 heading into Sunday's final round.
Japan's Toshimitsu Izawa fired a 67 and five strokes off the leads.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. Arnold Palmer and Curtis Strange beat Tony Jacklin and Nick Faldo 4 and 3 to help the United States remain a point behind in the UBS Cup.
The Rest of the World team leads 6 1/2-5 1/2 entering Sunday's 12 singles matches on the Sea Island Golf Resort's Seaside Course. The United States is seeking its third straight victory in the event.
Palmer, the 73-year-old U.S. captain, and Strange beat Rest of the World captain Jacklin and Faldo in the opening better-ball match.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.