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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 14:56 GMT
Golf: Woods falters in major haul
Tiger Woods
The 2003 golf season could either go down as a watershed or it will be remembered as a brief respite from one man's domination.

Tiger Woods ended the season without a major title for the first time since 1998.

The world number one also relinquished his US Tour money list title for the first time in five years to Vijay Singh.

But he still won five events in America and finished a close second to Singh despite playing in only 18 tournaments to the Fijian's 27.

Woods' strike rate, and a winning scoring average of 68.41 shots per round, ensured he won the Harry Vardon Trophy for the US Tour's Player of the Year for a record fifth successive time.


But Woods' supremacy was not only threatened by Singh.

He and Ernie Els traded two early wins each as the year looked to be developing into a two-horse race.

But the South African missed almost two months with a wrist injury sustained hitting a punchbag in his garage.

Els, though, stormed back to top the European Tour's Order of Merit for the first time after six wins worldwide, and climbed to third in the world behind Singh.

But neither of the year's big three made an impact at any of the four majors, which were all won by first-time major champions, a position last witnessed in 1969.

At the Masters in April, Canada's Mike Weir beat American Len Mattiace in a play-off, while US Ryder Cup stalwart Jim Furyk beat Australia's Stephen Leaney to take the US Open by three shots at Olympia Fields.

In July, little-known American Ben Curtis clinched the Open at Royal St George's after Denmark's Thomas Bjorn let slip a three-shot lead with four holes left.


And at the USPGA, 169th-ranked American Shaun Micheel beat countryman Chad Campbell by two shots after firing a seven-iron 174 yards to within two inches of the cup for a tap-in birdie on the last.

On the European Tour, Ireland's Padraig Harrington, Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson and England's Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were multiple winners.

Former European number one Westwood ended a two-year drought with victories in the BMW International Open and Dunhill Links Championship.

His stablemate Darren Clarke won his second World Golf Championship event - the WGC-NEC Invitational - to trail Els by just 500,000 in the final standings.

But it was a disappointing year for former seven-time European number one Colin Montgomerie, who failed to win a Tour event for the first time since 1992 and finished outside the top 10 on the Order of Merit for the first time since 1990. (He finished 28th).

Meanwhile in America, Singh, Weir, Furyk, Kenny Perry, Davis Love and David Toms all scored at least two wins each.

On the Ladies PGA Tour, world number one Annika Sorenstam cemented her status as the dominant star with five victories including two majors.

In May, she took up an invite to play in the Colonial Tournament on the men's US Tour, the first time a women had played in a men's event since 1945.

Her decision sparked criticism and praise in equal measure but her performance, and grace in just missing the cut, won plaudits from all quarters.

And she capped a remarkable season by leading the European Solheim Cup team to victory against America in Sweden in September.

In other team golf, Bernhard Langer and Hal Sutton were named as next year's European and United States Ryder Cup captains respectively.

Meanwhile, Great Britain and Ireland's amateurs won the Walker Cup against America, while their professional counterparts beat Europe for the Seve Trophy.

And the International team and America shared the Presidents Cup as darkness halted the play-off.

But all eyes will be back on Woods next year to see if 2003 was just a blip on his ambition of beating Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major titles.

Or will the long-time pretenders finally overhaul the young master?






Video highlights

South Africa win World Cup
16 Nov 03  |  Golf
Clarke wins WGC-NEC
24 Aug 03  |  Golf
Woods lands WGC-Amex
05 Oct 03  |  Golf
Woods clinches WGC-Match Play
03 Mar 03  |  Golf

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