Westwood Proves Tiger Is Beatable

Monday, May 22nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ALVESLOHE, Germany (AP) — The top European golfers don't like Americans beating them on their links. Not even if it's Tiger Woods — the best player on the planet.

England's Lee Westwood won the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open by three strokes Sunday. Woods finished tied for third after he sent his second shot on the 11th hole into the water, leading to a double-bogey.

``I think there is a general feeling that we don't like the Americans coming over here and us being rolled over,'' said Westwood, a European Ryder Cup player. ``It's nice to show there a lot of good players on this tour and people can't come across and win easily.''

Westwood, breaking out of the worst slump of his career, blistered the course on a warm windless day for the tournament's best round, an 8-under-par 64 to finish at 15-under 273. Italy's Emanuele Canonica was second at 276.

Woods, reportedly paid a big appearance fee and drawing huge crowds at the $2.3 million event, shot a 70 Sunday to put him at 270 for the tournament.

Woods appeared headed for an amazing 14th title in 12 months in his first trip to the continent this year. He teed off on the 11th hole with a one-stroke lead.

His approach shot missed the green, bounced high off a bank and plummeted into the water on the 11th.

``I just hit a bad shot at the wrong time, which cost me a wonderful chance to win the tournament,'' Woods said.

Woods failed to hold a third-round lead for the first time in 13 tournaments, while Westwood won $408,000.

Canonica was at 276, while France's Jean Van de Velde and 1991 Masters champion Ian Woosnam joined Woods at 277.

The event assembled one of Europe's toughest fields this year, with the entire European Ryder Cup side playing in the same tournament for the first time since losing to the Americans.

But even with Europe's best golfers on hand, British bookies made Woods the heaviest favorite at 2-to-1.

``This (my win) just reiterated the fact that he is beatable,'' Westwood said. ``I think I proved today I am not intimidated by Tiger.''

Westwood snapped out of the biggest slump of his career with his first official tour title this season — he won at Sun City — after finishing 76th and 54th in his last two events. In the past two years, he won seven times.

Woods held a two-stroke lead after Saturday's third round, but after a fog delay, numerous players got off to blistering starts and wiped away his lead before his first swing.

Right after Woods and Westwood matched birdies to pull a stroke ahead of Colin Montgomerie and Canonica, Woods followed with the double-bogey.

While Westwood added another of his eight birdies for the day on the next hole to move two clear, Woods followed with another bogey on the 14th.

``I was trying to put it 10 feet left of the flag and roll it in there,'' Woods said of the double-bogey. ``I hit two bad shots (today) which cost me three strokes.''

Woods said Westwood played well in winning the tournament.

``He played beautifully today,'' Woods said. ``He needed to go out and be aggressive and make some birdies and he was able to keep that up all day.''

Woods helped draw more than 60,000 spectators to the event, a total in Germany equaled only by the same tournament last year, when it was held at Heidelberg with Woods as the headliner.