Split his year between playing on the US PGA Tour and The European Tour. Came close to winning on his first European Tour start of the year when he lost out to Thomas Björn in a play-off for The Daily Telegraph Dunlop Masters, and finished the year in 62nd place on the Order of Merit, while 98th on the US PGA Tour Money List. Won his maiden title, the Open de España at the PGA Golf de Catalunya in May 2000 when he met his wife to be, Julie, a former air stewardess and daughter of former England goalkeeper Ray Clemence. Enjoyed his best season in 2003, breaking into the top ten on the Order of Merit in ninth place assisted by 11 top ten finishes, including third in the year-ending Volvo Masters. Began the next season on a high note, winning the ANZ Championship in Australia which set up appearances in all four Majors in 2004. In 1998, he contracted chickenpox on flight home to the UK from South Africa. Taken ill with the virus in Dubai and spent a week in intensive care with seriously high blood clot levels. Became the first Englishman to win the US PGA Tour Qualifying School finals at the end of 2004, shooting a 17 under par total of 415 to win by one stroke.