Woods on top of the world

After toying with the World Cup field in Malaysia for the first couple of days, Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara yesterday raised their game and eased the United States into what should be an unassailable lead. With a round to go they are 23 under par, seven strokes in front of Spain with Argentina third a further six shots adrift.

After toying with the World Cup field in Malaysia for the first couple of days, Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara yesterday raised their game and eased the United States into what should be an unassailable lead. With a round to go they are 23 under par, seven strokes in front of Spain with Argentina third a further six shots adrift.

It took the Americans those two days to unlock the secrets of the Mines Course on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur but once they did they played flawlessly to record individual scores of 63 and 67. All credit to Miguel Martin and Santiago Luna of Spain, who have played alongside Woods and O'Meara these past two days, for staying in touch for as long as they have.

On Friday they actually out-scored the Americans to lead at half-way and over the opening holes yesterday briefly went further ahead. But when both made errors at the eighth America drew level and then steamed away over the final nine holes. A three-putt by O'Meara at the last was the only time either he or Woods went over par.

With the American birdie and eagle tally clicking up like a World Cup rugby score it is no wonder that all other contenders fell away in the oppressive heat and humidity. Each day it has been noticeable that good scores were made over the first nine holes and preserved coming home as the heat rose.

The home nations have acquitted themselves competently and all bar Scotland would have felt they were in with a chance at start of play yesterday. Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington, winners for Ireland two years ago, are best placed on seven under par. Their challenge foundered when they collectively dropped three shots at the ninth. Behind them Peter Baker and Mark James have laboured diligently but without great reward and when they too frittered shots away around the turn their hopes of defending the title Nick Faldo and David Carter won last year evaporated.

Phillip Price and David Park would not perhaps have had great expectations of becoming the second Welsh pair to win this event but Price has played out of his boots and with a personal score of 10 under par is in second place in the individual competition, five shots behind Woods, who is chasing his fifth individual trophy in his last six tournaments. Park, who started the year on the Challenge Tour before winning on the big one in mid-summer, supported him ably for two rounds before stumbling to a 75 yesterday.

Colin Montgomerie never looks comfortable in Turkish-bath conditions and that, allied to a totally understandable weariness, has meant a lacklustre week. Once his partner Dean Robertson could do no better than 75 on the first day the individual title was really all that remained and for Monty that was not enough to tap his dwindling adrenalin resources.

It comes as no surprise that this is to be the last World Cup in this format. It has struggled in recent years without the resources of a single ambitious sponsor to put up the sums necessary to tempt the best from their lair at this time of year. The Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews is now the pre-eminent nations tournament and it will be interesting to see how it prospers within the World Golf Championship series.

It will re-emerge in a year's time, slimmed down with a doubled purse and a qualification system based on the world rankings. The four-round aggregate medal format is to be done away with and foursomes will become part of the mix. For that reason alone we must wish it the very best of health.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine