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Woods and Els Smears Reputation

Posted July. 29, 2003 21:48,   


Phil Mickelson (USA) and Sergio Garcia (Spain), both winless this year in tournaments that count, stole the spotlight from the world`s best two players Monday night by beating Tiger Woods (USA) and Ernie Els (South Africa) on a course engulfed in the darkness.

It was a Battle at the Bridges, or a golf tournament held yesterday in the format of best ball match play, at Bridges Golf Course in Ranch Santa Fe, California, USA. Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson shot a combined 10-under through 17 holes to defeat Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. The two never lost the lead to Woods and Els. Garcia and Mickelson jointly took home $1.2 million in prize money, while Woods and Els each took home a quarter of a million dollars home.

Garcia, who beat Woods in 2000 by one hole, defeated the invincible Woods again, and succeeded in marking himself as "Tiger Hunter." Mickelson lives in the community, something he was quick to share with the others -- as if the pro-Lefty cheers didn`t tip everyone off.

Woods went back to his old Titleist driver for the first time in 18 months, but that was never a problem on the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. His putting missed the cup almost every time, bringing him the defeat.

It was a head-to-head competition the first seven holes. Standing against the bright lights, Garcia addressed himself on the green of the par-5 16th hole. It was just a one hole lead. Els and Woods’ best chance came on the par-5 14th, when Woods hit a 3-iron out of a bunker to 18 feet, and Els had a 30-foot putt for eagle. Mickelson and Garcia both missed the green, but kept their lead when Els and Woods both badly missed their eagle putts.

The final blow to the Woods-Els team was then made by Mickelson, who made the "OK birdie."

Before the victory, Garcia and Mickelson were title-less this year, while Woods and Els have worked out nine victories together. Woods and Els occupy the top two positions on the ranking. Mickelson, on the other hand, occupies the 11th position and Garcia 14th. The numbers do not say anything about match play, though, where each person gets to hit, and the better of the two scores becomes the team score.

The Garcia-Mickelson team widened the gap up to three holes in the early stages of the tournament. Mickelson had a birdie on the first hole and Garcia added one birdie on the 3rd and 6th holes. Woods and Els, however, tried to make it a contest when they tied it up on the par-3 15th.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com