Retief Goosen and Adam Scott turned in a tag-team performance to bury Tiger Woods and Fred Couples in the opening match and the International team led the US 3-2 at the Presidents Cup on Thursday.
Bringing up the rear were Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman, who birdied four of their first five holes in alternate shot for a dominant victory over David Toms and Stewart Cink.
There were still 28 matches left until the cup is awarded but considering how the International team typically starts at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, it was cause for celebration. In three previous trips to this golf course on the shores of Lake Manassas, the Americans have twice led 5-0 and once led 4-1 after the opening day.
"Some places it could have been worse," US captain Jack Nicklaus said. "Some places it could have been better. Tomorrow is another day."
In other matches, US Open champion Michael Campbell and Angel Cabrera beat Americans Kenny Perry and Davis Love III 2 and 1, Scott Verplank and Justin Leonard won 4 and 2 over Internationals Peter Lonard and Stuart Appleby, Phil Mickelson teamed with Chris DiMarco for a 1-up victory over Nick O'Hern and Tim Clark, and Jim Furyk and Fred Funk settled for a halve against Vijay Singh and Mark Hensby.
Scott and Goosen got this day off to a resounding start.
It started with a simple halve on the third hole, when Goosen hit a 60-foot putt to a hole that was just below a steep ridge. The putt was struck with such perfect force that it settled 16 inches from the cup. Then, it was a matter of waiting for Woods and Couples to self-destruct.
A poor chip by Woods cost them the fourth hole. Couples missed a 4-foot birdie putt so badly that it never touched the hole, falling two behind on the sixth. And when Scott made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 seventh that juts out into the lake, the International team already was 3-up.
"The first match out is always important, no matter who you're playing," Scott said. "Gary [Player] wanted Retief and I to go out and give the guys something to see."
It was only the third time in 36 matches at the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup that Woods was beaten without getting to the 16th tee. Neither he nor Couples played well.
"I was outclassed by three guys, and I couldn't help Tiger at all," Couples said.
It was the marquee match of the day, and the anticipation built as former US Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton stood on the first tee amid the wives and the heads of six major golf tours around the world.
Nicklaus was hopeful of securing an early point. Instead, he motored around in a cart and watched the International team ahead on the leaderboard throughout the day.
Robert Gamez shot an 8-under 62 to take a one-stroke lead over Jeff Maggert after the first round.
"That's a good round, but I have to keep it going," Gamez said. "That's been my problem in the past."
Gamez, winless since taking two events as a rookie in 1990, birdied eight of the first 16 holes in his bogey-free round on the LaCantera Golf Club's Resort Course. Playing in one of the early groups, he made a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 8, chipped in from 80 feet for a birdie on No. 9 and holed a 38-foot putt on No. 11.
Woody Austin and John Senden matched Maggert with 63s, and Phillip Price, Ted Purdy, David Hearn and Nick Watney opened with 64s. Purdy played the front-nine in 6-under 29 and was even par on the back nine.