Originally created 10/10/05

Woods outlasts Daly in titanic battle



SAN FRANCISCO - In a phenomenal display of power between golf's two biggest sluggers, Tiger Woods outlasted John Daly in the American Express Championship because of a 3-foot putt.

Woods made up two shots over the final three holes Sunday to force a playoff, then won on the second extra hole when Daly three-putted for bogey from 15 feet on the 16th, badly pulling his short par putt.

It was a somber end to a riveting afternoon along the shores of Lake Merced, where some 20,000 fans crammed along the fairways and cypress trees were treated to 350-yard drives and drama rarely seen this side of a major.

Woods closed with a 2-under 68 and won this World Golf Championship for the fourth time, the fourth PGA Tour event that he has won at least four times. It was his sixth victory of the year, and given a bad swing and ribs that had to be taped before the final round, it was as impressive as any.

Daly shot 69 and had two chances to win. He missed a 16-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation, then had a birdie putt from 15 feet on the second extra hole that just grazed the left side of the cup. Fans scrambled to the next hole, none of them imagining that Daly would miss.

"The last thing you want to see is something like that happen," Woods said. "I didn't want to win the tournament like that."

But he'll take it, along with the $1.3 million prize that pushed his season to over $9.9 million and, with two tournaments left on his schedule, gave him a shot at beating the record set by Vijay Singh a year ago.

Colin Montgomerie missed birdie putts of 6 and 10 feet to cost himself a chance for his first official victory on U.S. soil, but kept alive his hopes with a 12-foot birdie on the 17th to get within one shot.

But he missed the 18th green, chipped weakly and took bogey for a 70 that left him in a three-way tie for third at 272 with Henrik Stenson (68) and Sergio Garcia (69).

The 8-foot par putt Monty missed on the last hole was worth $159,500. Still, he earned $353,666 to move past Michael Campbell atop the Order of Merit and is poised to win Europe's money title for the eighth him.