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Cisco World Matchplay Championship
Wentworth Club
Surrey, England
15th - 18th October 1998

Par 72 Prize Money 640,000


O'Meara beats Woods with dramatic last hole putt

Wentworth, Surrey, 18th October 1998 - Mark O'Meara added the World Matchplay to his Masters and Open titles on Sunday and became its oldest winner when he holed a 15-foot birdie putt from off the last green to beat Tiger Woods by one shot.

Their fluctuating battle in the first all-American final in 23 years turned at the 16th hole of the afternoon round where O'Meara, 41, drove into trees but sank a 15-foot par-saving putt and then watched Woods three-putt from eight feet for a bogey.

That left O'Meara one ahead but world number one Woods made a brave 10-footer for a matching birdie at the 571-yard 17th to send the contest to the last hole.

Both bunkered their drives, both escaped well and Woods hit his third shot to eight feet.

O'Meara's third hit passed the pin but spun back some 25 feet to finish up against a collar of rough off the green 15 feet away.

But he rolled in the putt to seal his victory.

"That was a tough putt. I knew I had to give it a chance because I felt Tiger would make his putt.

"It caught the low side and dived in the back edge -- just the way I want to win a golf tournament," he said.

"I feel very fortunate to have won. I made some putts when I needed to," O'Meara, friend and mentor to the man 19 years his junior, said.

"For me to be able to compete with a phenomenal player like Tiger Woods and be able to beat him, that's a tremendous honour for myself.

"He's got more talent, power and imagination but maybe I have more wisdom and patience."

Woods, his 22-year friend and practice partner in Orlando where they both live, said: "He's been taking the money out of my pocket all year and he's done it again.

"I should have made the first putt at 16 but he birdied the last two holes and that's tough to do.

"That was a great putt he made at the last. It was a double breaker, but he rolled it in.

"The ebb and flow of match play over 36 holes makes it a great format. This was a match that I will cherish for a long time, even though I lost," Woods added.

"I'm happy for Mark. He's been a great player for a long time. Finally he's getting the recognition he deserves."

Woods had taken a three-hole lead into the afternoon round after winning the first three holes of the day, the second with a 20-foot chip-in and the third on a 35-foot birdie putt. He also won the sixth to go four up and made seven birdies during the morning.

O'Meara got back to three at the 17th and began chipping further away at the deficit right after the break, winning the first with a birdie from 10 feet and the third when Woods bogeyed.

When he won the sixth and seventh with birdies -- Woods missed from four feet at the sixth -- O'Meara was in front for the first time.

It swung back and forth after that. Woods levelled at the ninth with a six-iron approach to a foot and was back in front at the short 10th after a six iron to eight feet.

But O'Meara struck a master shot at the 510-yard 12th, a two-iron second which hit the flagstick and stopped two feet away for an eagle, and he was ahead again after a nine-foot birdie at the 14th.

A bad drive into the trees cost O'Meara the 15th but he survived his poor drive at the next that turned into the crucial hole of the entire match.

Having knocked his eight-foot attempt four feet past the hole, Woods missed again.

"I wasn't thinking about anything but making the first putt," he said.

O'Meara, who scored a record-breaking 11 and 10 triumph over holder Vijay Singh in Saturday's semifinals, won 170,000 ($289,100) and strengthened his position as the world number three behind Woods, who won 90,000, and David Duval.

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World Matchplay record

Semi-final Results

Second Day Results

First Day Results

Second Round Draw


Tiger in confident mood

First Round Draw

Last Year's World Matchplay