Patrick Reed said his motivation for the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne is "turning personal" amid backlash and claims of cheating after his penalty controversy.
That was a message Els preached to his team after a dynamic performance.
It paid dividends with the Internationals in front after the opening day for the first time since 2005.
"We haven't had a start like this for many, many years, so it's really nice to have some points on the board".
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 12: Playing Captain Tiger Woods of the United States team, Justin Thomas...
"He played great", Thomas laughed during a Golf Channel interview after their match.More news: Chile Finds Debris Believed To Be From Missing Plane With 38 People
The win by Woods and Thomas over Australian Leishman and Chile debutant Niemann put the first point on the board but it was downhill from there for the United States side.
But that was as good as it got on a blustery day that began in overcast conditions and light drizzle before the sun burst through.
Tiger and JT have led Marc Leishman and Joaquin Niemann throughout the early part of their match, and Tiger punctuated that lead with the highlight of Day 1 thus far with a classic Tiger Woods moment.
"We have to earn this cup", Woods said, perhaps a reminder that history means little inside the ropes.
Even the normally stoic Hideki Matsuyama showed just how much this week means, fist-pumping his way to victory. "Still a long way to go from there". "Still a long way to go from there. We've got an awesome lay-up going out there and the guys are all fired up and ready to go". I could not get enough of them!
The International squad won the other four matches, never trailing in three of them, and wound up with the start it needed in a bid to win for the first time since 1998.More news: Suu Kyi resorts to lies in UN’s top court
Woods is also backing Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay to bounce back from a one-down loss to Adam Hadwin and Sungjae Im, with victory over Hadwin and Niemann.
Adam Scott, playing in a record ninth Presidents Cup for the Internationals without ever winning, helped partner Byeong-Hun An forge a 2 and 1 win over Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.
Abraham Ancer/Louis Oosthuizen (International) 4&3 over Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland (USA): Woodland didn't make a birdie, and Johnson didn't make enough (three) to roll with Father Abraham and King Louis.
Woods was in the first group out and was greeted by a small but noisy group of supporters, including one wearing a tiger suit. Three birdies combined between two of the last three U.S. Open winners isn't going to get it done, especially when one of them was a botched eagle from about 4 feet to halve a hole on the second half of the course.
"Whenever your name is called, you have to go out and win your match and that's what we're going to try and do, go out and win the point".More news: Brad Pitt finally addresses all those dating rumours