Sunday, November 7, 1999 Published at 18:54 GMT
Monty's magnificient seven
Woods' $1m first prize takes his season's earnings to more than $7m
Colin Montgomerie launched a stinging attack on golf chiefs after being crowned European No 1 for a record seventh successive year.
Montgomerie lashed out at Tour organisers for making a mockery of the nine-month-long race by putting too heavy a weighting on the final event in Spain.
Tournament winner Tiger Woods took home a first prize of £600,000 - five times the average prize money on offer at the rest of the year's events.
"Hakkinen didn't get 30 points for winning the last Grand Prix. Manchester United don't get 10 points for winning their last game," said Montgomerie, who was £400,000 ahead of Westwood and Garcia going into the event.
"Although this is a fantastic tournament on a great course, unfortunately it makes a mockery of our Tour.
"This counts far, far too much. It takes five tournaments for us to win as much as this one is worth and for a tour over 38 weeks I don't think it should come down to one at the end which is so great prizemoney-wise.
"We will have to look at it. We must not do the same again.
"If I had not had the year I've had and I was level with Westwood and Garcia coming here then all 20 Europeans in the field could have won the Order of Merit.
"That does not seem right and thank goodness I was so far ahead."
The event was won in dramatic fashion by Woods, who survived an astonishing triple bogey eight when his ball rolled into the water at the controversial 17th but then regathered his concentration to clinch a play-off against Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez at the first extra hole.
It was his fourth successive victory - the first player since Ben Hogan's run in 1953 - his fifth in six starts and his ninth of a year in which he has pocketed nearly $7m.
Woods burst out of the pack with a brilliant spell of three birdies and an eagle which took him clear of everybody except Jimenez.
But the winner of last week's Volvo Masters clung to the American star with his own spurt of three birdies in five holes.
But he found himself two in front as Woods, playing what he thought was a perfect 100-yard pitch to the 17th, saw it roll down the slope beyond the flag - and then keep going into the lake.
During the Ryder Cup on the course two years ago he had putted into the same stretch of water at a hole which Lee Westwood described as "rubbish".
Jimenez still had to play the hole, but although he managed to par it he bogeyed the 16th and then the 18th, where his 20-foot chip from the back of the green lipped out of the cup, leaving the players tied at a six-under total of 278.
They returned to the 18th for a sudden-death play-off and while Jimenez could not improve on his bogey five, Woods sunk a 12 foot putt for a birdie.
Though Woods took the final title of the season, the day belonged to Monty.
The Scot has only moved up the money list since he turned professional in 1987.
He went from 164th that season to 52nd, 25th, 14th, fourth, third and then grabbed first place from Nick Faldo in 1993 by winning the final event, the Volvo Masters, at Valderrama.
Ironically perhaps, he started that week fifth in the table, but the size of the cheque enabled him to overhaul Faldo.
Final standings in the Order of Merit
C Montgomerie (Sco) £1,302,056
Collated final totals in the American Express World Championship at Valderrama,
Spain, (Gbr and Irl unless stated, par 71)