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Can Tiger roar again at Pebble Beach?

Can Tiger roar again at Pebble Beach?

Before this year’s US Open tees off on Sky Sports Golf, we look back at Woods’ iconic 2000 triumph

As Tiger Woods returns to the site of one of his defining victories, find out what made his triumph in 2000 so special…

2019 US Open, from Thursday 13 June, 8pm, Sky Sports Golf/HD (CH 515/505)

Re-e-wind to the year 2000. While you were desperately trying to keep your Tamagotchi alive, Tiger Woods was busy winning the US Open with one of the greatest sporting performances ever witnessed by human eyes.

 

That’s no exaggeration. Woods was so far ahead of the opposition at Pebble Beach 19 years ago he essentially redefined what it means to hit a ball into a hole with a club. By the end of the weekend the American was the only player at the tournament to finish with an under-par score. But we’re not talking one or two under. We’re talking 12 under par. Woods finished 15 shots ahead of runners-up Ernie Els and Miguel Ángel Jiménez – a record major-winning margin that still stands to this day.

Golfer Tiger Woods takes a shot

Tiger Woods’ proposed reboot of Garden Force fell at the first hurdle when he insisted on doing everything with a golf club.


At the dawn of the new millennium Woods was at his absolute peak. Fans loved him. Golf’s organisers loved him. Advertisers really loved him. Just 24 years old, he headed to California for the 2000 US Open with two major championships already under his belt. After becoming the youngest ever winner of the Masters in 1997 (and by a tournament record of 12 shots), Woods secured his second major at the 2000 PGA Championship, pipping Sergio García by a single shot. “Tigermania” was ready for lift off – but nobody quite expected it to reach such vertigo-inducing heights at Pebble Beach.

 

Lining up alongside an experience field that included Els, Jiménez, Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh and Pádraig Harrington, a six-under-par 65 saw Woods open up a slender one-shot lead at the end of the first round. At that point, the 2000 US Open still resembled a competitive golf tournament. It didn’t by the end of the second round. As the rest of the pack grappled with ferocious winds and disruptive rain, Woods showed superhuman control, rattling off pars and birdies to establish an ominous six-shot advantage come the close of play on the Friday.

 

As the wild conditions intensified on Saturday, Woods revealed a semblance of fallibility when he triple-bogeyed the third. But this was only a minor blip on his path to glory. Starting the final round with a towering ten-shot lead, the machine kept on rolling. A superb 67 that contained four birdies (coming at 10, 12, 13 and 14) and 14 pars saw Woods go on to clinch the title in the most emphatic way imaginable. “If you were to build the complete golfer, you’d build Tiger Woods,” said Mark O’Meara, one of many players blown away by the star during the tournament.

“To perform the way I did, and on one of the greatest venues in golf, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Come the end of the weekend, Woods had broken more records than you could swing a six iron at. Not only did he become the first player to finish a US Open with an under-par score in double digits, he also notched up the largest 36-hole and 54-hole leads in US Open history. His remarkable 272 also tied with Jack Nicklaus and Lee Janzen for the US Open’s lowest-ever score. This was as close to golfing perfection as anyone could remember.

 

“Records are great, but you don’t really pay attention to that,” said Woods. “The only thing I know is I got the trophy sitting right next to me. To perform the way I did, and on one of the greatest venues in golf, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

 

It’s unlikely Woods (or anyone else for that matter) will dominate this year’s US Open in the same way. After all, the kind of performance he produced at Pebble Beach in 2000 hasn’t been bettered in terms of such a dominant winning margin. Still, whatever happens at the 2019 US Open, follow all of the action live on Sky Sports Golf from Thursday 13 June.

 

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