Tiger Bites Back To Stun Harrington and Montgomerie
Steven Franklin, Press Officer
22 September 2006
After a rocky start, the real Tiger Woods has finally shown up at The K Club.
Woods, the world's No. 1 player who entered the 36th edition of these biennial matches hotter than asphalt in July, put his first shot of the day into the lake that borders the first hole of the Palmer Course.
Paired with Jim Furyk in their fourball match against Europe's Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie, Woods tried to play a fade off the first tee at the par four first but instead drew his ball over the bunker into the lake on the left, which rarely comes into play. After a drop, he played his approach to the right fringe, and his little chip missed to the right for an opening bogey.
Luckily for him, his partner was there to bail him out. Furyk, displaying the mettle that made him a solid partner for Woods at the 2005 Presidents Cup, responded by hitting a perfect tee shot then putting his approach to within eight feet. He made the birdie putt to put the US one-up through the first hole.
Woods' troubles continued on the fifth hole when he lipped out a four-foot par putt that gave Harrington and Montgomerie the hole and levelled their match. On the seventh, Woods again lipped out a par putt, this time from about 10 feet, and Montgomerie made his short par putt to give the Europeans the lead.
But then Woods came to life and as a result also fired up Furyk. Woods first righted himself and squared the match on the par-three eighth when he hit a magnificent punched eight iron from 173 yards to within four feet and made the birdie putt.
Furyk followed with a big birdie on the par four ninth when he holed a superb putt from roughly 25 feet that snaked from right to left and found the middle of the cup.
Harrington and Montgomerie, who were playing well tee to green but struggling with the putter, them missed their own birdie chances to leave themselves one-down at the turn.
Woods then got his fist-pump going on the par four 11th when he was true with his 12 foot birdie putt to double the Americans' lead.
The Europeans fell further behind at the par three 12th when Woods grabbed the pair's fourth birdie in a devastating five hole spell that turned the match on its head.
Stung, Montgomerie kept his team in the match with a clutch birdie putt at the short 14th to cut the deficit to two holes.
In the second match, Stewart Cink and Ryder Cup rookie J.J. Henry lauched a comeback after the turn, winning the 11th and 12th to cut to one the lead held by Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson.
Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal, playing David Toms and cup rookie Brett Wetterich in the third match, also saw their lead cut to one when Wetterich birdied the par five tenth.
In the day's fourth and final match, it was a dream start for Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke.
Clarke, an emotional favourite of both sides of the Atlantic following the recent death of his wife Heather, mashed his opening tee shot on the first, hit his approach just over the flag to 12 feet, then made the putt amid raucous roars from the Irish fans.
Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco squared the match on the par five fourth when Mickelson chipped to two feet and made the birdie putt.
It stayed that way until the tenth. DiMarco, Mickelson and Lee Westwood, Clarke's partner, all hit their respective third shots within six feet of the hole but only the Englishman managed to hole out to put the Europeans 1-up.
But DiMarco hit back immediately, squaring the match at the 11th with a 20 foot birdie putt.
Sunday Video Recap
Check out all the great highlights from Sunday's European victory. Watch
- 1969: Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus on the final hole of the final day.