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Tiger Woods Has Exceptional Warmup

November 9, 2000

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) _ Tiger Woods is sensational. Even in practice.

Tuning up with Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke for the American Express Championship, Woods holed three straight shots at Valderrama.

Woods began his hat trick with a 110-yard eagle on the third hole. Next, the 24-year-old player walked down the fairway and asked his caddie to toss a ball into a greenside bunker. Exploding a wedge from the sand, he dropped that shot, too.

Not yet satisfied, he repeated the bunker shot with the same effect.

``I’ve never seen anything like it,″ said Clarke’s caddie, Billy Foster.

As word spread about Woods’ warmup Wednesday, few of the other players in the 55-man field seemed shocked. Woods has won nine times this season and is trying to become the first since Sam Snead in 1950 to win 10 events on tour. A victory Sunday would also make him the first to crack $10 million in a season.

``I have never heard of anything like it,″ said Ireland’s Paul McGinley. ``But he does amazing things.″

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SOLO ORR: Scotland’s Gary Orr was the odd man out in the 55-player field and the American Express Championship he teed off by himself early Thursday morning at Valderrama. There were 18 threesomes.

Orr was virtually alone on the first tee _ with four spectators and a few officials holding up ``Quite Please″ signs _ as he began his chase for a $1 million top prize.

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RECORD SEVEN: Englishman Lee Westwood has three reasons for wanting to win the final European event of the season. A victory could bring him the season money title, He also he would pick up a $1 million check and notch a win over a near-world-class field that includes Tiger Woods.

A victory also would be his seventh this season on the European tour, breaking the record of six he shares with Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie.

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