Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell defeated tournament host Tiger Woods at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in California.
McDowell began the final round four shots adrift of Woods, but Tiger faltered with two early three putts. When the American made a double bogey at the 13th hole he lost his lead to the US Open champion.
McDowell retained the advantage until the par-3 17th where he pulled his tee shot into waist high grass. The Golf Monthly columnist was forced to take a penalty drop on the edge of the 18th tee. He then played a miraculous recovery pitch to set up the chance of a bogey four. He duly converted and, with Tiger making par, the pair were tied going into the final hole.
Both hit excellent tee shots and it was Woods to play his approach first. In typical style, he fired an 8-iron to within three feet of the cup. When McDowell’s second ended some 25-feet from the flag, it looked as though the former World Number 1 would snatch the victory from the Ulsterman.
But McDowell rolled his putt home and, when Tiger did the same, a playoff was required. They returned to the 18th tee and both found the green in regulation once again – McDowell was 25 feet or so away once more with Woods around 10 feet.
Amazingly McDowell replicated his effort on the 72nd hole of regulation play and rolled his long birdie putt home. Woods narrowly missed and the tournament went to McDowell.
“Probably two of the greatest putts I’ve made,” said McDowell.
The victory caps an outstanding year for McDowell who has now climbed to seventh on the Official World Golf Ranking.
“It’s the stuff of dreams he said. 2010 has been the stuff of dreams.”
Although Tiger missed out on the victory, he was pleased to be back in contention on a Sunday afternoon.
“It was a great week, even though I didn’t win,” Woods said. “I’m proud of the way I played today, even though I lost.”
The tournament was something of a two-horse race over the final round. Paul Casey was the best of the rest finishing four behind Woods and McDowell. Another Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy was fourth a further stroke back.
Chevron World Challenge
Sherwood Country Club, California
Dec 2-5, purse $5,000,000, par 72
1 Graeme McDowell (NIR) 66 69 68 69 272 $1,200,000
2 Tiger Woods (USA) 65 66 68 73 272 $650,000
3 Paul Casey (Eng) 73 65 69 69 276 $400,000
4 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 66 70 73 68 277 $300,000
5 Hunter Mahan (USA) 72 67 70 69 278 $225,000
T6 Stewart Cink (USA) 69 75 68 67 279 $205,000
T6 Ian Poulter (Eng) 72 67 71 69 279 $205,000
8 Luke Donald (Eng) 70 66 73 74 283 $190,000
T9 Zach Johnson (USA) 75 67 70 72 284 $182,500
T9 Sean O’Hair (USA) 72 67 70 75 284 $182,500
Note: Player in bold indicates Titleist ball usage only.