The United States recorded their 22nd victory in the World Cup of Golf when Mark O’Meara and Tiger Woods triumphed in the 45th edition of the competition at The Mines Resort City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
O’Meara and Woods, starting seven shots ahead of nearest rivals Spain, scored final rounds of 77 and 65 respectively for a winning 23 under par total of 545 – five shots ahead of Spain, for whom Santiago Luna and Miguel Angel Martin scored 72 and 68 and nine clear of Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (67) and Paul McGinley (68).
In fact Spain, four-time winners of the World Cup of Golf, produced a wonderful start to claw back the deficit and managed to take a one stroke lead walking off the eighth green. Luna birdied the first, fifth, sixth and eighth; Martin the third, sixth and eight. Woods followed an eagle at the third and a birdie at the sixth with a bogey at the eighth; O’Meara dropped three in the first five. Incredibly, Spain were ahead at 23 under to the States’ 22 under.
Both Martin and O’Meara bogeyed the 10th, but then the pendulum swung in favour of the United States. Luna dropped four shots in a row from the 10th, while Woods picked up four straight birdies in the same stretch. That put the Americans in full control again and they went on to triumph by five.
Woods and O’Meara shared $400,000 while Woods earned an additional $100,000 as the winner of the International Trophy with a 21 under par total of 263. It meant that Woods has now won seven times in the USA, twice in Europe and once in Asia during his remarkable 1999.
It was the United States’ first win since Fred Couples and Davis Love III dominated the competition from 1992 to 1995 – since when South Africa, Ireland and England have all won.
Woods said: "Obviously with the past champions that are on this list, it's quite an honour to be part of that. This year has been a pretty good one, winning are many times as I have.
"I've played five in a row and won four out of five. I'm pretty proud of that. I'm proud of what I've achieved this week. Mark didn't have his best game with him in the last round but he tried over every shot - that's the sign of a true champion.
"The whole trip to Malaysia has been wonderful. From a golf standpoint it's been a very good week."
O'Meara commented: "I think all of you realise now what Tiger Woods is all about; what kind of player he is and why he's ranked No.1 in the world. He's a gifted player and proved that today."
Martin said: "Tiger putted brilliantly - he is a very good player and hits the ball well, but today he putted better than he played."
However Luna was disappointed, saying: "I am feeling very bad - we have both played well for nine holes but I hit one into the water and lost my feeling for the next three holes."
Woods followed opening rounds of 67 and 68 with a 63, equalling the course record, and completing his week with a 65 for his 21 under par total which left him nine strokes clear of New Zealand’s Frank Nobilo.
Ireland, the 1997 champions, produced a superb last day performance to move into third place in the team event with Harrington contributing six birdies in his 67. McGinley, who had four birdies in his 68, said: “Today was the first time this week that we really fed off each other as we did at Kiawah Island two years ago. Finishing third was great given how far we were behind.”
Sweden finished fifth on 556, two strokes ahead of England (Mark James 277, Peter Baker 281). Wales took ninth position on 563 (Phillip Price 276, David Park 287) with Scotland 15th (Colin Montgomerie 72, Dean Robertson 72) on 571.