Woods' water world

Valderrama frustrates everyone but Weir

Posted: Monday, November 13, 2000

SOTOGRANDE, Spain -- One of the greatest years in golf ended with a bang, just not the kind Tiger Woods had planned.

As Mike Weir of Canada rapped in his final putt Sunday to win the American Express Championship, Woods twice slammed his foot into his golf travel bag while changing to leave Valderrama Golf Club.

Just like last year, the diabolical 17th hole took the best shot Woods had to offer and deposited the ball into a pond.

Only this time, Woods never got a second chance to win in a playoff. And his spectacular season ended without a perfect 10 -- the first $10 million man in golf, the first player in 50 years to win at least 10 times on the PGA Tour.

''I played well for most of the day,'' Woods said.

But not good enough to catch Weir, who played better than anyone on the weekend and came away with a two-stroke victory in the World Golf Championships event.

Having watched another horror show unfold before him on the par-5 17th, Weir found dry land and made a deft par save from behind the green. That allowed him to coast in for a 3-under 69 and a two-stroke victory over Lee Westwood.

''It's a huge win, a world championship,'' Weir said. ''With the quality of the field, that's what makes it so special. Any time Tiger plays in the tournament you win, it makes you feel great because he's far and away the best player in the game right now.''

Weir finished at 11-under 277 and earned $1 million.

Woods will have to settle for a year that even one crazy hole at Valderrama can't spoil -- nine victories, over $9 million in earnings, three straight majors, the career Grand Slam, and the lowest raw scoring average -- 68.24 -- in PGA Tour history.

And there was one other winner.

With the $500,000 for finishing second, Westwood moved ahead of his good friend Darren Clarke on the European tour money list and claimed the Order of Merit, ending the amazing seven-year reign of Colin Montgomerie.

''It's more emotional than I have ever been,'' said Westwood, who finished $346,000 ahead of Clarke, plus a British pound from a bet they made with each other in August. ''It was a very, very long day out there.''

Chrysler Senior Match Play Challenge

DORADO, Puerto Rico -- Vicente Fernandez, the last seeded player in a 16-man field, birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff against Leonard Thompson to win the Chrysler Senior Match Play Challenge on Sunday.

The victory was worth $240,000 for the Argentine, who reached the final earlier Sunday by defeating 13th-seeded Ray Floyd 4 and 3, with the help of seven birdies.

The 10th-seeded Thompson, who earned $120,000, beat No. 14 Lanny Wadkins 2 and 1 in the other semifinal.

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