Thursday, November 25, 1999
The world's top-ranked golferBy Bill Kwon
wins the PGA Grand Slam and
ups his earnings to $7.68 million
POIPU, Kauai - The winner and still champion - Tiger Woods.
Woods defeated Davis Love III, 3 and 2, to win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the second year in a row, adding yet another victory to his amazing 1999 resume.
"This has been an incredible year, a wonderful year," said Woods, who won both the PGA Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy, in addition to obliterating the PGA Tour money record by winning $6.6 million.
With his Grand Slam victory yesterday, Woods earned $400,000 to increase his world-wide winnings to $7.68 million this year.
"He's the most dominant player in the world in the last two, three years," said Love, who replaced the late U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart in the event featuring the winners of golf's four majors. "When he gets ahead, he's tough to beat."
Especially 5-up, as Woods was after eight holes yesterday at the Poipu Bay Resort course.
"He's not going to let a lead like that get away," Love added.
Woods didn't, although Love birdied 12 and 13 to cut Tiger's lead to 3. They both halved the par-4 16th, ending the match.
"Davis played very well yesterday (Tuesday). I figured if I could answer (his birdie on the opening hole), I would stop his momentum from yesterday," Woods said. "I needed to make that putt on top of him."
He covered Love's birdie, sinking a 15-footer after Love got his 3.
Love conceded Woods' eagle at the par-5 second, bogeyed the par-3 third to go two down. Birdies at six and seven put Woods 4 up.
"When I lost seven I was thinking what would Payne do?" Love said to himself. "He wouldn't give up. So I promptly drove it in the bunker and lost the next hole."
Love's 11-year-old daughter Alexia, came running up at that point with a second "Jesus" bracelet, hastily borrowed from TV Commentator Bobby Clampett. "That's all right, I don't need it,'' Love told her. "Oh, yes, you do,'' she replied.
"My little girl was pulling for me but I think after the eighth hole, she went back to the pool,'' Love said.
He bogeyed No. 8 as Woods made a great up and down to save par, sinking a 12-footer. That was his closest brush with bogey in 32 holes over the two days.
Love admitted that playing Woods in the match-play format can be intimidating.
"We know we can beat him on any given day," Love said, "but we have to play 110 percent. That's why this year has been so incredible for him."
Woods won 12 individual tournaments this year - eight on the PGA Tour - and a remarkable 10 times in the last 13 events he entered.
This time, he wasn't wearing his usual red color during a tournament's final day.
Why, he was asked.
"You want to know the honest truth?" Woods explained, "I would have worn it, but had my (black) shoes stolen last week."
The idea of wearing a dark red shirt, black pants and black cap with white shoes wouldn't look good according to Woods.
The world's best golfer, it seems, is also fashion conscious.
Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal won the consolation match and $150,000 when British Open champion Paul Lawrie was unable to continue after twisting his right ankle in a freak accident on his way to the 10th hole.
Lawrie conceded the match. He had just double-bogeyed the ninth hole to be 1-down at that point. "We were having a good match," said the 40-year-old Scot , who came from nowhere to play in the elite tournament.
Lawrie, who got $100,000 for finishing fourth, suffered strained ligaments in the mishap. X-rays revealed no fracture. He still plans to go to South Africa for the Sun City Million Dollar Challenge next week.
NOTES: All four matches failed to reach the Poipu Bay Resort course's signature 17th and 18th holes ... This was the sixth year in a row that the PGA Grand Slam was held at the 6,957-yard oceanside course designed by Robert Trent Jones. An announcement whether it will return here again is expected in the next couple of weeks, according to Julius Mason, PGA of America media relations director. "We've had really good conversations with the Poipu Bay Resort and Kauai Hyatt Regency people," he said.