Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Woods zones in on players vote

AP , WOODSTOCK, GEORGIA

Tiger Woods celebrates with his caddie Steve Williams as they walk up to the 18th green during the final round of the American Express Championship on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Tiger Woods is still the best in the world, and his fifth victory of the year Sunday at the American Express Championship might be enough for his peers to vote him best on the PGA Tour again.

With three clutch pars on the grueling back nine at Capital City Club, Woods won his seventh World Golf Championship in 13 tries by closing with a 2-over 72 for a two-shot victory over Vijay Singh, Tim Herron and Stuart Appleby.

It was only the fourth time in 39 victories on the PGA Tour that Woods won despite failing to break par in the final round, and the first time since the 2002 US Open.

This was particular ugly, although Woods -- as usual -- did what was required.

The Crabapple course was a brute, with brick-hard greens and deep, wiry rough. Woods won at 6-under 274, the third-highest winning score this year behind the British Open (1-under 283) and the PGA Championship (4-under 276).

Woods had to win this week for a chance of winning the money title and PGA Tour player of the year for an unprecedented fifth straight time.

He earned US$1.05 million, putting him atop the money list by about US$170,000 over Singh.

Woods' five victories also leads the PGA Tour, and he has virtually locked up another scoring title. Still, much can happen with one month left in the season.

Woods was more elated over the 100th career victory for his caddie, Steve Williams, who has worked for Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd during his career.

"People have no idea how big this win was," Woods said. "It's not just the player of the year or the money title, it was Stevie's 100th win. He's meant a lot to a lot of the success I've had."

Woods is 30-2 when having at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

Woods has only two events left on his schedule -- Disney and the Tour Championship -- and might have to win one of those to claim the money title.

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