American Express World Golf Championship - Valderrama - 9–12 November 2000
Mike Weir the 30 year old Canadian won the second World Golf Championships to the delight of the spectators on a sunny and slightly windy day at Valderrama.
Mike lead for most of the final day after a remarkable third days round of 65 on the par 72 course. This was one of best rounds of the tournament and obviously gave him full momentum which he never lost, putting in a sterling minus four on the final day to finish 11 under overall. Tiger Woods looked to be challenging at one time but after Weir hit par on the dangerous seventeenth he must have felt quietly confident. In fact he said afterwards that he deliberately hadn't looked at the score in order to concentrate on his game. On the 17th tee I asked my caddie 'What are we?', 'We are two up' Brennan replied. "The decision was made for me to lay it up. If I had been two behind at that point I may have taken a shot at it. But with that pin its a dicey shot" Mike couldn't hide his delight as he walked onto the eighteenth green to loud applause from the crowd. This was his biggest tournament victory.
Lee Westwood who finished second had a final day to remember after two par rounds and a four under round on previous days. He did concede before playing that "I have given myself a decent chance to win the tournament."
Vijay Singh and Duffy Waldorf finished third on eight under par after Singh shot a 68 and Waldorf a 69 to take home $287.000 each.
Tiger Woods, a clear favourite of the spectators finished 5th. He had amazed spectators on day two by rolling back into the water on the infamous par five seventeenth yet again (3rd time). He was clearly very angry with this performance and threw his club to the ground in disgust. On day three all eyes were on him, as he said afterwards, "I made sure I strengthened my grip a little bit so the ball was definitely going to go a little bit further. Got the club down in front with some loft, and was finally able to get the ball up in the air." This time the ball stayed on the green. He was clearly delighted and bowed to the crowd like a Shakespearean actor after a second encore and grinned like a Cheshire cat all the way to the green.
On the final day he improved his position steadily and when he reached the 17th the pressure was on him to pull two strokes for the lead. Yet again he landed perfectly on the green with his 3rd shot, but rolled back into the water. Finally putting in on 7, with this he clearly lost his confidence, and any chance of the cup.
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Tiger flew to London straight after the tournament for an exhibition of his talents in Hyde park. He did entertain the spectators and his previous days disappointment was nowhere to be seen.
Nick Price, the down to earth South African, was always in with a realistic chance of winning. He never repeated his outstanding first day's nine under par, however following an subsequent even round and two over he wasn't able to match the final day performances by the others even though he played a very respectable minus four himself. He was always with a chance but when he rolled in the water on the seventeenth and finally holed in eight, he must have realised he would not be the winner. He finished fifth.
Hidemichi Tanaka of Japan the outsider who was surprised by his own performance on day two "This is my first tournament, a big tournament like this, so that's why I am surprised." When asked what it means to be playing in the same field as Tiger Woods, Tanaka replied, "I want his autograph" Tanaka received much attention as the media tried to find out about his background. Unfortunately coming home even par on the final day resulted in seventh place overall.
Sergio Garcia the young Spaniard had one of the best rounds of the tournament by scoring 64 on the final day putting him seven under and in joint fifth place overall. This achievement went largely unnoticed. Only Sergio himself picked up on it by commenting afterwards "I would like to finish each tournament with a 64"
The Valderrama Golf Club website can be found at www.valderrama.com.
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