Give Him Five Woods Defends AmEx


WOODSTOCK, Ga. -- Tiger Woods only needed a 2-over 72 on Sunday to win his third World Golf Championships-American Express Championship title in the last five years. He finished at 6-under-par 274 and earned a two-shot win over Vijay Singh, Stuart Appleby and Tim Herron.
Woods' picked up victory No. 5 of 2003 and that marked the fifth consecutive season with that many wins. He titled in this event in 1999 and last year but the victory on Sunday gave him 39 and ties him for ninth on the all-time list with Gene Sarazen and Tom Watson.
Woods, who ran his career mark to 30-2 when he holds at least a piece of the 54-hole lead, moved to the top of the money list thanks to the $1,050,000 first prize. With all of those accomplishments, Woods probably vaulted to the top of the list for PGA Tour Player of the Year with a month of tournaments left.
But that wasn't what had Woods talking.
'People have no idea how big a win this is,' said Woods. 'It's not about the Player of the Year award or money title. This is Stevie's 100th win as a caddy.'
Steve Williams, who has carried Woods' bag for several years, also caddied for Greg Norman and Raymond Floyd in his career but on Sunday it was Woods' ability to scramble for pars that sent him to the winner's circle.
The Crabapple Course at Capital City Club played hard and fast all week with rough that was very penal. Sunday was no different as Woods took a two-shot lead into the final round.
Singh trailed by two as the players headed to the turn and the ninth hole seemed to be going his way as he hit one down the fairway. Woods drove into the rough then landed in a greenside bunker and could not save par from seven feet. Singh hit a poor approach and three-putted to make a bogey of his own and remain two back.
At the 10th, Woods once again missed the green but hit a beautiful pitch to four feet. Singh three-putted for another bogey while Woods holed the par save to go three ahead.
Herron got within one with a birdie at the 12th but Woods, who played with Singh in the final pairing Sunday, kicked in a short birdie putt at the par-5 12th hole to go back ahead by two.
Woods was ahead by two when he missed the green at the par-3 13th. He chipped to seven feet and drained the par save to keep Herron at bay. Herron bogeyed three holes in a row from the 14th to fall off the pace and Singh never mounted a charge so it left Woods against the course if he was to visit the winner's circle.
At the 14th, Woods drove into the right rough and his approach ran through the green. He chipped to eight feet and missed the putt right but two holes later, while three up on Herron, Woods did not hit the green in regulation. From a difficult lie with the ball well above his feet, Woods pitched to 10 feet and sank the putt to stay ahead as Herron's bogeys extended the lead to four.
Woods hit a terrible wedge from the fairway at 17 and his approach came up short in the rough. His chip left him with 15 feet for par and Woods missed but it didn't matter. He bogeyed 18 as well to finish with a two-shot win instead of four.
'I hit it pretty good all week and putted pretty good,' said Woods. 'Today I hit it decent but I made nothing. I just couldn't quite make a putt. I enjoy playing in tournaments when you can shoot par every day and have a chance to win.'
Appleby shot a 2-under 68 on Sunday to sneak into his share of second place. Herron finished with a 1-over 71 and Singh posted a 2-over 72 as the group shared second at 4-under-par 276.
David Toms fired a 5-under 65 to take fifth place at 3-under-par 277, while Padraig Harrington (66) and K.J. Choi (73) tied for sixth place at minus-1.
Paul Casey and Retief Goosen shared eighth place at plus-1, followed by Fred Couples and Spain's Ignacio Garrido, who tied for 10th place at 2-over-par 282.
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