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Last Updated: Monday, 14 April, 2003, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Weir hails Woods
Mike Weir
Mike Weir was rewarded with his first green jacket at Augusta
Masters champion Mike Weir has credited world number one Tiger Woods with helping him lift his first Major title at Augusta National.

The Canadian left-hander won after a nail-biting sudden death play-off with Len Mattiace on the 10th.

But Weir revealed playing alongside Woods at the 1999 USPGA Championship had played a major part in his triumph.

The pair were grouped together in the final round but Weir's game collapsed and he slipped to 10th following an 80, while Woods won a thrilling finale with Sergio Garcia.

Weir added: "It was a very difficult day for me then but, at the same time, I did observe how Tiger managed his victory there.

"I remember the clutch putt he made on 17 and how he really stayed with his game. I took a lot in that day even though it was a tough day for me, I still took a lot of positives out of there.

What we witnessed at Augusta was a graduation, a natural progression for someone who has been steadily improving for some time
BBC Golf correspondent Iain Carter

"Back then I was coming out of the qualifying school the year before and I was in the final group of a major. I was probably a little out of my element. I wasn't prepared to handle it."

Weir was the model of consistency on the 18 regulation holes on Sunday, continually sinking important putts.

Arguably his most important was a six-footer on the 18th to force the play-off with Mattiace.

"I wouldn't wish that putt on anyone," said Weir. "That's as nerve-wracking as it gets.

"It was probably the biggest shot of my life. It's one of the most difficult things you can have in golf, a putt to tie a Major championship.

Weir carded a closing 68 for a seven-under-par total of 281, matching the score of Mattiace who finished with a superb 65 - one outside the lowest ever final round in the Masters.

Phil Mickelson finished third at Augusta for the third year in a row, while Jim Furyk grabbed fourth place.

HAVE YOUR SAY

After a dazzling final round from both Weir and Mattiace, the play-off on the 10th was something of an anti-climax.

Both players found the fairway, but the American pulled his approach shot well left of the green while Weir found the green in two, 40ft short of the pin.

Mattiace chipped woefully past the hole but was given hope when the Canadian ran his first putt eight feet past.

However, Mattiace then hit his putt 15ft long to leave the result in no doubt and shrugged off the disappointing end to his day.

"I take a lot from this event, no question about it. I hope to draw on this experience for a long time coming," he said.

"That was one of my goals a few years ago, to be a competitor in the Majors and this day proved to me I can do some great stuff.

"I gave it my all. That's all you can ask for."





Links to more Masters 2003 stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
Canada's Mike Weir
"This is an unbelievable feeling"


Runner-up Len Mattiace
"I was in the zone today"


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