After two weekends of massive disappointment, Tiger Woods rounded off his three week trip to the UK & Ireland in spectacular style by winning the presitigious American Express World Golf Championship by eight shots at The Grove in a rain-sodden Hertfordshire.
Woods (pictured) had suffered reverses in the HSBC World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth and as part of the losing US team at last week’s Ryder Cup, but he made up for those defeats by winning his sixth consecutive strokeplay tournament and extending his lead in the Official Golf World Rankings – only the four Major championships carry more ranking points than the WGC events. Woods has now won ten of the fifteen individual WGC events he has entered, amassing over $10 million in prizemoney along the way.
Beginning the final round leading by six strokes, Woods eased to a comfortable victory after his final round of 67 left him at -23. England’s Ian Poulter continued his recent good form by finishing in a tie for second place at -15 with Australia’s Adam Scott, with Woods’ compatriot Jim Furyk securing fourth at -14. Ernie Els was a stroke further back, while Luke Donald performed the best out of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup squad and finished tied for sixth on -11.
The final round took Woods seven and-a-half hours to complete after two lengthy breaks for rain and lightning. He kept his concentration and composure well, however, and after posting birdies at the 2nd and 5th his victory was a formality. He carded three more birdies, including one on the 18th, and his only blemish was a bogey at the 12th but he was too far ahead of his toiling rivals to feel any pressure. Furyk threw away his chance of fnishing second by taking two fives in the closing two holes, but he will still move ahead of Phil Mickelson in their yo-yo battle for second place in the world rankings.
“We had it all today with the weather – the only thing we didn’t have was snow,” commented Woods after securing the win.
“It was just a day of patience and not making bogeys, but unfortunately I made one. I’ve had a pretty good year in golfing terms with nine wins, a couple of Majors and two WGC events. The things I’ve been working on over the last couple of years have started to come together.”
Despite his satisfaction at his good form and his delight at winning in England, Woods claimed that he was feeing exhausted and was also still grieving for his father Earl, who died of cancer earlier in the year.
“When you take into account what’s happened off the course it has been my worst year,” he said.
“I consider this year as a year of loss. Golf does not compare to losing a parent. I’m looking forward to getting into the water, going diving and forgetting about golf for two weeks. I’m a little fried.”
WGC AMERICAN EXPRESS CHAMPIONSHIP
The Grove, Hertfordshire
(GB&I unless stated)
1 T Woods (USA) -23
2 I Poulter, A Scott (Aus) -15
4 J Furyk (USA) -14
5 E Els (RSA) -13
T6 L Donald, -11
T13 D Howell, -8
T13 H Stenson (Swe), -8
T17 JM Olazabal (Spa) -7
T26 D Clarke, -3
T32 S Garcia (Spa), -2
T41 C Montgomerie, +1
T56 P Casey, +8