Stage set for endurance test at Presidents Cup

Ohio: An endurance-test finish appeared to be in store for the Presidents Cup as officials try to conclude the storm-hit golf matches by the weekend despite bleak weather forecasts.

The United States lead the Internationals 4 1/2-3 1/2 with four alternate-shot matches to be completed Saturday morning, the Americans and global stars each leading in two of the unfinished matches at Muirfield Village.

Storms halted play each of the first two days and threaten again Saturday, when officials hope to play 10 scheduled matches, five each in four-ball and alternate-shot, after finishing the incomplete matches.

"It makes for some long days," Price said. "Everybody is sort of getting tired now. It doesn`t matter how fit you are."

The worst could be yet to come. At least four players for each team will be looking at more than 36 holes Saturday if weather allows. Some could face as many as 43 holes.

And that`s with each team having to rest four players in the second wave of pairs matches.

"It`s almost like a major-type thing," said US captain Fred Couples. "The better players will be able to handle it and go."

While Saturday`s forecast is 50-50, there is an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms on Sunday, so officials are looking at a morning start to the 12 concluding singles matches rather than the planned afternoon start.

"Hopefully tomorrow is going to be a really good day for us," Price said. "It`s a pity I`m going to have to split up some teams (to sit players out) but I think we`re in for a really exciting day."

Masters champion Adam Scott of Australia has no illusions about what is coming.

"It`s going to be a long weekend, that`s for sure," he said.

Matches could be postponed to Monday but no later. Whichever team has the most points by sunset Monday will be declared the winner no matter how many matches are done.

"We`re winning matches and that`s the goal," Couples said. "This team will never get beat. We will go down hard. I just like the way we`re playing."

Reigning British Open champion Phil Mickelson teamed with Keegan Bradley to win 4 and 3 over Australian Jason Day and Canada`s Graham DeLaet in one of two matches completed Friday.

"It`s nice to have a little extra time in the morning while the others go out and play," Mickelson said.

"I would anticipate playing both sessions, given that only four people get to sit and eight have to go the whole time."

That might have caused the five-time major champion some back issues had he not worked on that Friday.

"I felt much better," Mickelson said. "I spent a little time with Tom LaFountain, who I work with to maintain back health. He stretched me out and I went back and hit balls and felt fabulous."

Ernie Els, who also won Friday, says his team knows the drill for rain delays.

"Some of us play PlayStation and go nuts. Some of us sit on the couch and eat," Els said. "We did the latter."