In a phenomenal display of power between golf's two biggest sluggers, Tiger Woods outlasted John Daly in the American Express Championship because of a three-foot putt.
Woods made up two shots over the final three holes yesterday in San Francisco to force a playoff, then won on the second extra hole when Daly three-putted for bogey from 15 feet on the 16th, badly pulling his short par putt.
It was a somber end to a riveting afternoon along the shores of Lake Merced, where some 20,000 fans crammed along the fairways and cypress trees were treated to 350-yard drives and drama rarely seen this side of a major.
Woods closed with a 2-under 68 and won the American Express Championship for the fourth time in six starts. He extended his dominance in the World Golf Championships, winning his 10th in 19 events.
It was his sixth victory of the year, and given a bad swing and ribs that had to be taped before the final round, it was as impressive as any.
Daly shot 69 and had two chances to win. He missed a 16-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole in regulation, then had a birdie putt from 15 feet on the second extra hole that just grazed the left side of the cup. Fans scrambled to the next hole, none of them imagining that Daly would miss from three feet.
"I feel so bad for J.D.," Woods said. "You never, ever want to win a golf tournament like that."
But he'll take it, along with the $1.3 million prize that pushed his season to more than $9.9 million and, with two tournaments left on his schedule, gave him a shot at beating the record set by Vijay Singh a year ago.
Woods and Daly shot 10-under-par 270, and only 24 of the 71 players who started the event finished under par. . . .
Chile's Nicole Perrot earned her first LPGA Tour victory, rallying from a two-shot deficit to win the Longs Drugs Challenge in Auburn, Calif. Perrot, 21, finished at 14-under 270, one shot ahead of South Korea's Hee Won Han (69).
Annika Sorenstam didn't have much to celebrate on her 35th birthday. Starting the day nine stokes off the lead, the Swedish star closed with a 72 and tied for 22nd.
* HORSE RACING: Jockeys Luis Garcia and Ryan Fogelsonger had to be removed from the track by ambulance after being involved in a spill during the running of yesterday's eighth race at Laurel Park. Coming out of the final turn in the seven-furlong race, Garcia's mount, Glory Lane, fell for no apparent reason. Magical Broad, Fogelsonger's mount, jumped the fallen horse and sent Fogelsonger out of the saddle and forward onto the track. Both horses got up and ran off, while their riders remained motionless on the ground. Jockey club clerk of scales Adam Campola reported both riders were conscious and were to be transported to Laurel Regional Hospital for X-rays. Harry Harris, Laurel's track physician, said both riders suffered back and neck trauma. . . .
A Huevo, the storybook 9-year-old gelding whose brilliant talent was plagued by injury, broke down and was euthanized after another comeback attempt in the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders' Classic on Saturday night at Charles Town. The horse, trained by Michael Dickinson at Tapeta Farm in North East, Md., caused a sensation in racing in 2003 when he won the Grade I $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park, having come back after nearly four years away from the track.
* TRIATHLONS: Diogo Sclebin of Brazil won the Olympic-distance Triathlon World Championships, beating a field of more than 1,700 amateur competitors in Honolulu.
Margie Shapiro, 28, of Annandale, led the women in 2:07:10. She was followed by Justine Whipple, 20, of Annapolis, in 2:10:11.
* TENNIS: Lindsay Davenport earned her 50th career title with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Amelie Mauresmo at the Porsche Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany.
* SAILING: America's Cup holder Alinghi won the Louis Vuitton Act 9 and the 2005 America's Cup Class Championship with a third-place finish in the fifth and final fleet race yesterday.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports