Weir-d Finish To 2001 Season

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With the sun setting, literally, on the PGA Tour season, Mike Weir rolled in a five-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to capture his first title of the season at The Tour Championship.
 
Weir defeated David Toms (67), Sergio Garcia (68) and Ernie Els (68) in the playoff at Champions Golf Club in Houston, TX. All four men finished regulation at 14-under-par 270.
 
It was a fantastic day, unbelievable finish to the year,' said Weir, who won $900,000.
 
Weir could have ified the extra session by parring the 72nd hole. But after his tee shot landed in the left fairway bunker, his approach shot came up well short of the green. He pitched 20 feet from the hole and two-putted for bogey.
 
Meanwhile, Els birdied the par-4 18th, and Garcia and Toms made pars to join the fray.
 
In the playoff, both Els and Garcia pushed their tee shots on No. 18 into the right trees. Els was able to fly his approach shot onto the back of the green, some 40 feet from the cup; though, Garcia was faced with a more daunting task.
 
The 21-year-old Spaniard was allowed a free drop when he informed a rules official that the shot he wanted to play was interfered with by the greenside grandstand.
 
Garcia then hit a wedge from 120 yards to the back fringe, from where he almost chipped in for par from 80 feet.
 
On the other hand, Weir and Toms were sitting pretty in the fairway. Following a ten-minute wait for Garcia and Els to play, Toms was unable to capitalize, hitting a soft wedge from 123 yards 20 feet past the stick.
 
Weir then stepped up and stuck his approach shot from 120 yards inside of five feet. And when Els and Toms missed their birdie opportunities, the 31-year-old Canadian ended both the tournament and the 2001 PGA Tour campaign, just as dark was descending.
 
I really needed to redeem myself, I felt, on that hole,' Toms said. 'These guys are just great players. I didn't want to give them another chance.'Kenny Perry (69) and Scott Verplank (71) tied for fifth place at 13-under. Verplank started the day with a one-shot lead, but played the back nine in 1-over 36 en route to an even-par 71.
 
Ultimately, I put too much pressure on my putter, Verplank said. I just couldnt get the ball close enough to the hole.
 
Verplanks Sunday playing companion, David Duval, also shot 71. The 1997 Tour Championship winner started the day one off the lead, but double bogeyed the par-3 12th. He tried to rally late, but like Verplank, was unable to coax any putts into the cup.
 
(The double bogey) had nothing to do with (losing) the tournament, he said. I played very, very well. I hit is close all day and couldnt get it in the hole.

Tiger Woods never factored into the final outcome. He started the week with a sore back, and his finish wasnt much comfort. He bogeyed his final two holes Sunday for a round of 1-under 70. Tiger completed the season finale tied for 13th at 8-under-par 276.
 
Regardless, Woods captured his third straight Arnold Palmer Award for winning the money title and his third consecutive Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. He also won five tour titles, including his fourth major championship in a row at the Masters Tournament.
 
All those are good things, and Im proud of the way I played all year. But its hard to be in a good mood about it right now, Woods said.
 
It wasnt quite as good as last year (when he won nine PGA Tour events ' three of which were majors ' and collected over $9 million in official earnings). But it was a pretty darn good year.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
 
*Weir has now won the last official event for the second consecutive season. Last year, he captured the World Golf Championship-American Express Championship.
 
*This was the 10th playoff on the PGA Tour this season and the seventh in the 15-year history of the Tour Championship.
 
*Woods finished the year first on the PGA Tour money list with $5,568,777; $1,283,884 clear of runner-up Phil Mickelson
 
*Els failed to win a PGA Tour event in 2001, snapping a 7-year winning streak on tour. Woods now holds the longest active streak of consecutive seasons with at least one tour victory at six.