Tue, Nov 25, 2003 - Page 20 News List

President Cup ends in stalemate after dramatic conclusion

REUTERS , GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA

Tiger Woods has described his final putt at the fifth Presidents Cup between the US and the Internationals as one of the most nerve-wracking moments of his life.

The world No. 1 was locked in a unique sudden-death playoff for the trophy with South Africa's world No. 3 Ernie Els, after both teams had ended regulation play level on 17 points.

Woods had to hole an uphill 15-footer to stay in the match.

"It was tough, not only for the fact that if you missed your putt, you let your team mates down, your captain, the assistant captain, all of the wives, girlfriends and everybody that's part of the team," Woods said.

"You let everyone down with one putt, that's a lot of pressure. That was actually one of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life."

The 27-year-old added: "When I was getting over the putt, I kept reminding myself: just a little slow. But I saw all this red [his US team mates] and I was just trying to block that out.

"I just got into my little world and made the putt."

Non-playing US team captain Jack Nicklaus said the putt, which Woods made at the third extra hole, was amazingly difficult.

"We couldn't even see the hole, let alone try to putt," said Nicklaus, who won 18 majors.

"It was up and over, down and sliding away, with a break of 10 to 12 inches.

Els, the local favorite, lost 4 and 3 against an inspired Woods, who played his best golf of the week in sweltering heat at the Links Course at Fancourt.

Woods took the lead for the first time over Els with a two-putt for birdie on the par-five fifth hole and picked up further shots on the sixth, eighth and 12th holes while Els won the 10th.

Woods closed out the match on the par-four 15th when 34-year-old Els, a three-time major winner, three-putted from 60 feet to give the US a vital point.

International captain Gary Player and Els hailed the agreement to share the cup.

Player said: "That was something really special for Jack and his team to do because if it didn't happen we wanted to go on in the dark."

Els said: "At the end I think what happened was fair. In the spirit of the Presidents Cup and the way we have been playing these matches over the years, I think this is a fitting finish to this one.

"We really beat each other up, we were evenly matched and it would have been unfair to myself and Tiger to win or lose the Cup."

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