Golf-Weir win over Woods a memorable Cup consolation prize

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MONTREAL, Oct 1 (Reuters) Mike Weir could not deliver a Presidents Cup but gave Canadian golf fans plenty to cheer by winning a stirring battle with world number one Tiger Woods.

With the US needing just three wins from 12 singles matches to clinch the Cup, the final day lacked usual suspense, leaving Woods and Weir to provide the drama.

Backed by a record Presidents Cup crowd of 35,000, Weir rode the support to a final hole victory over Woods yesterday providing the hosts with a memorable consolation prize.

''For me, being from Canada, to have this kind of support, it's overwhelming,'' said the 2003 Masters champion. ''I'm having a tough time putting into words what it means to me.

''But when I look back on my career, this may be even more special than winning the Masters.'' Weir and Woods treated the galleries to a thrilling roller-coaster afternoon of golf, engaging in an epic battle that went down to the final hole.

Like he had all week, Weir received a hero's send-off from the first tee, the crowd chanting ''Mikey, Mikey'' as he charged three ahead going into the turn.

But Weir wobbled on the back nine and Woods pounced, erasing the deficit and going one with three to play.

The Canadian lefty, however, refused to fold.

Woods had a chance to hole the winning putt for the US but missed his birdie attempt from 11 feet on the 17th green.

Weir rolled in a 10-footer to birdie the 17th and level the match before sealing a one-up victory over Woods at the last where the world number one ran up a bogey-five.

''I just kept telling myself I'm playing well,'' said Weir.

''I just kept telling myself 'be patient'.

''I was just determined, once he got ahead, I wasn't going to let him finish it off early.

''I just wanted to fight no matter how it turned out. I wanted to fight until the end.'' The lowest ranked player on the international team with just one win since his Masters victory, Weir arrived at Royal Montreal Golf Club today eager to prove he was more than the token Canadian.

Having earned his spot on the squad as one of two captain's picks, Weir rewarded Gary Player's faith by posting a 3-1-1 record, the best on the International team.

''He (Weir) looked like he was gone but that's the mark of champion,'' praised International captain Gary Player. ''You can see why he won the Masters.

''He comes back, he wins 17, he wins 18, can you imagine the pressure for him on the last hole.

''This will turn his life around. Adversity is here for a reason. Everybody has got to suffer a bit and he'll comeback next year smelling like a rose.'' Reuters MP VP0528

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