How Tiger Woods limped his way to improbable 2008 U.S. Open win


Editor’s be aware: Because the U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines for the primary time since 2008, we glance again at that occasion and Tiger Woods’ playoff win over Rocco Mediate. This story was initially revealed on June 11, 2018, as a part of the 10-year anniversary of that occasion.

Simply 12 ft of difficult terrain remained earlier than the ball started tumbling towards the opening, leaving the Nike swoosh distinguished with each revolution. However as Tiger Woods rose out of his stance and 1000’s across the inexperienced held their breath, these fleeting moments may actually be measured in days, weeks, months and years.

To some, it was the best 72nd-hole putt in a serious championship, a confluence of occasions that had been surreal and but normal for Woods. Nonetheless, the ball that bounced alongside the inexperienced, caught the sting and dropped in for a birdie didn’t even win the 2008 U.S. Open for Woods.

Regardless of Woods’ euphoric celebration and the bedlam that ensued round Torrey Pines Golf Course, all it meant was survival, with an excruciating playoff the following day towards Rocco Mediate.

The painful prelude to all that was a well-kept secret, as Woods may barely stroll within the weeks main as much as a event he had been pointing towards for years.

Now, 10 years faraway from what surprisingly turned out to be the final of Woods’ 14 main titles, we spoke to the gamers, caddies and individuals who witnessed what very nicely may need been Tiger’s most outstanding victory.

The place do we start? Tiger’s lead-up to the 2008 U.S. Open

When the 2008 season started, Woods had simply celebrated his thirty second birthday and was coming off a outstanding 2007 by which he gained seven instances, together with the 2007 PGA Championship. The run continued into the brand new calendar 12 months with wins in 4 straight tournaments, however ended when he completed fifth on the WGC-CA Championship at Doral.

Two days after ending second by 3 strokes to Trevor Immelman on the Masters, Woods introduced he had arthroscopic surgical procedure on his left knee, portrayed as a easy process to restore cartilage injury. It was his third operation on the knee going again to 1994, and he was anticipated to overlook a month whereas he recovered.

When Woods known as Hank Haney to inform him concerning the surgical procedure, it was the primary time the coach, who labored with Tiger from 2004 to 2010, was conscious of it.

Haney: “The surgical procedure was meant to scrub issues out, but it surely made it quite a bit worse. It set him again. Now he cannot observe. How in a couple of weeks is he going to stroll? He was going to attempt to play the Memorial [two weeks before the U.S. Open]. My preliminary thought once I first noticed him was, ‘This is not going to occur.'”

When Dr. Thomas Rosenberg, an orthopedic surgeon based mostly in Park Metropolis, Utah, carried out the process, he additionally found Woods’ anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was totally torn.

Tiger Woods: “I had ruptured my ACL in July the earlier 12 months, and I performed on it with no ACL and my meniscus was simply, I used to be trashing it. My leg was sloppy. I knew I needed to go as a result of I had fragments there, however my surgeons had been saying that I additionally must have the knee reconstructed. And I stated, ‘Nicely, we’ll simply do a cleanup job first,’ as a result of I needed to play the following three main championships.

“Once I got here again [after the procedure], I used to be doing a photograph shoot, and I used to be hitting a shot from a downhill lie and that is once I cracked [the tibia in my left leg]. I used to be hurting and I did not know what was occurring, so I went to get an X-ray first and that is when it confirmed I had that ‘Y’ with a lightning bolt on the backside of it and I had fractured it. From there, they had been saying I used to be just about completed for the 12 months. I stated, ‘Ah, I do not learn about that.’ … I hoped to get by way of the majors, have the reconstructive surgical procedure after the PGA, and I would have 9 months to prepare for Augusta. However nothing labored out that approach.”

“It was simply fixed. The therapy was fixed all through the evening. I slept on the therapeutic massage desk, I had my knee drained, iced, elevated, labored on, simply making an attempt to get as a lot irritation out as I may.”

Tiger Woods on taking part in by way of ache in the course of the 2008 U.S. Open

Haney: “Tiger did that complete factor the place they do the pretend identify and no one is aware of he is the one getting an MRI. They get a physician in Orlando to do it. Then Dr. Rosenberg flew in a couple of days later. He is explaining concerning the MRI, it is on his laptop computer and he is exhibiting there are two stress fractures, in addition to the torn ACL. He is exhibiting us every little thing, however Tiger just isn’t actually listening. … He is limping out of a golf cart to go hit 40 golf balls. How are we going to go play in a serious championship in a couple of weeks?

“Tiger appears up and says, ‘I am taking part in the U.S. Open and I will win.’ Identical to that. Then he says, ‘C’mon Hank, let’s go observe.’ The willpower was completely unimaginable, and clearly I will always remember it.”

The significance of taking part in at Torrey Pines was twofold for Woods.

Woods: “That was the primary skilled event I ever went to. My dad [Earl] took me to the outdated Andy Williams [the PGA Tour event now known as the Farmers Insurance Open began at Torrey Pines in 1969; from then until 1988, entertainer Andy Williams’ name was part of the tournament title]. To me, Torrey Pines, the U.S. Open there, was particular as a result of that is the place I discovered about skilled golf. I keep in mind driving with my dad right down to Torrey Pines [Woods lived outside of Anaheim], and I will always remember watching Andy Bean hit a 1-iron or a 2-iron to the final gap. I keep in mind watching John Cook dinner, Marco [Mark O’Meara], all of the SoCal boys. To me, the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines was like going house. It meant extra to me.”

Studying to play by way of the ache

Solely eight days earlier than the beginning of the U.S. Open, Woods and Haney left Florida and flew to California, the place the golfer performed 9 holes in a cart at Torrey Pines with no fanfare. He was sporting a knee brace that Rosenberg had given him with directions to maintain the variety of balls he was hitting to a minimal. Woods and Haney then drove to Newport Seashore to play at Huge Canyon Nation Membership. A Saturday morning spherical didn’t go nicely.

Haney: “They gave him a type of huge soccer lineman braces. He is sporting that factor and making an attempt to observe and play, however he cannot hit the ball. He performed 9 holes and misplaced like each ball. He had six or seven balls and misplaced all of them, shot 47 or one thing. It was horrible. Did not even end the final gap. A few of that was the brace and that was the final day of the brace.”

Woods: “I used to be nonetheless making an attempt to determine how within the hell I used to be going to attempt to play with a knee brace. My knee was clearly shifting in all places and [the tibia] was damaged … so, I performed and shot 50-some-odd [score] after which, on the best way down [to Torrey Pines], I threw it within the trash and was completed with it. I stated, ‘All proper, I will have to determine tips on how to play and not using a knee brace with this leg.'”

Rob McNamara, vp of Tiger Woods Ventures (TGR): “One factor I may see was he stored looking for a swing that he may handle round. The factor he stored coming again to was, his quick sport was nonetheless there. He may nonetheless putt. He’d hit a couple of, attempt to manufacture one thing, then he’d go to the placing inexperienced, chipping inexperienced, and that was nonetheless good. Then it was an terrible lot of guts and willpower. Virtually daily, I used to be involved for him. As soon as he realized he could not damage himself any additional … he determined he may handle the ache. It was simply laborious to observe.”

Steve Williams, Woods’ caddie from 1999 to 2011: “I had already had a heads-up from Hank Haney. ‘Stevie, Tiger’s bought no proper to be taking part in on this event.’ I will always remember these phrases. He went on the market on the Sunday and I may completely see the discomfort he was in. The golf was not of the standard you’d count on from Tiger Woods. Little question, he was struggling.”

The USGA determined for the primary time to group a number of of the highest gamers based mostly on their world rating, so No. 1-ranked Woods, No. 2 Phil Mickelson and No. 3 Adam Scott had been in the identical group for the primary two rounds. Mike Davis, then the USGA’s director of guidelines and competitions (he’s now its chief govt), was alarmed when he acquired a telephone name a couple of days earlier than the U.S. Open from Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg.

Davis: “He known as me and requested that I not inform anybody, not even others on the USGA. And I by no means did, however he stated Tiger basically had a damaged leg. I stated, ‘What?’ I walked together with his group as a guidelines official the final three days and I keep in mind considering that this man, from a psychological standpoint, is unbelievable.”

Thursday: The primary spherical

Woods shot 72 to open the event, and it was the primary time he had walked 18 holes for the reason that remaining spherical of the Masters. Nevertheless it was way more fascinating than his 1-over effort recommended. He made two double-bogeys, completed 4 strokes again of shock first-round leaders Kevin Streelman and Justin Hicks, and performed his final 9 holes and not using a birdie.

Adam Scott: “For those who take your self again to that time limit, it was a really totally different set of circumstances surrounding all of us, and particularly in the midst of essentially the most superb run of golf we had seen over 10 years. So, it was clearly a closely anticipated opening two rounds. With Phil, the hometown boy, Tiger from up the highway but in addition having gained Torrey nevertheless many instances he’d gained there, and me going alongside for the trip.

“Going to the primary tee Thursday was most likely one of many unforgettable moments in my profession; I do not assume I’ve seen a scene fairly prefer it. It was like 25 deep your entire gap. … It was extra just like the vitality of a soccer sport than teeing off at any golf event. There was actual ambiance there. In some way, I hit it within the fairway and Tiger made double on the first. That calmed me down properly.”

“I requested him on three separate events if it was the best factor to hold on. And I bought the identical reply every time: ‘F— you, Stevie, I am successful this event.’ After 3 times, I wasn’t going to say it to him once more.”

Steve Williams, Woods’ caddie from 1999 to 2011

Phil Mickelson: “I believe [Tiger] began the event with a double-bogey. It was outstanding the best way he fought and stayed in it. Whenever you put your self that far behind … it is simply so laborious to make birdies in a U.S. Open, and he began with a double and simply performed outstanding golf on a tough golf course.”

Jim “Bones” Mackay, Mickelson’s longtime caddie: “The shot that modified his complete event round was on the fourth gap [a 488-yard par-4 that runs parallel to the Pacific]. It is most likely the hardest gap on the course. [Tiger is] in the best fairway bunker off the tee. The pin is entrance proper, and he hits a 4- or 5-iron to about 5 ft and made a birdie. I keep in mind considering, ‘Holy cow, that is some approach to proper the ship on the toughest gap on the course.’ Of the photographs I keep in mind different folks hitting over time, that most likely needs to be within the high 5 all time.”

Dottie Pepper, an ESPN tv analyst who walked with the group: “At first, I believe he disguised his ache rather well, but it surely bought worse. The outstanding factor, as he began to inform the story, was, if you’re doing that a lot rehab after each spherical and each evening, you aren’t sleeping. You aren’t getting regular sleep and the way do you by no means let the doubts creep in?”

Williams: “I believe I requested him on three separate events if it was the best factor to hold on. And I bought the identical reply every time: ‘F— you, Stevie, I am successful this event.’ After 3 times, I wasn’t going to say it to him once more.”

Friday: The second spherical

Woods shot 68, but it surely began poorly. Together with Mickelson and Scott, he started on the tenth gap and bogeyed two of his first three. He bought these 2 strokes again with an eagle on the thirteenth however made two extra bogeys coming in. Then he bought on a front-side roll, birdieing the primary whereas taking part in his second shot from a cart path and went on to make 4 extra birdies, trailing chief Stuart Appleby by a shot and in a tie for second with Rocco Mediate and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson.

Mackay: “We had been paired with Tiger earlier than when he was hurting, however by no means like this. I keep in mind him driving it off the 18th tee and he appeared in poor health as a result of he was in a lot ache. It was laborious to observe in a way; and but, there he was, close to the highest of the leaderboard. You had a lot respect for what he was doing. He had a seem like, ‘They will have to hold me out of right here.'”

Scott: “Tiger, again then, as a result of he beat us on a regular basis … we did not like him that a lot. The skeptic in me stated he is a terrific showman. Even when he was taking part in nice golf again within the day, he was milking every little thing to his benefit. Putts that had been at all times a little bit bit low, he’d increase the putter and stroll out and the gang could be actually into it. He used that to psych out different gamers. The skeptic in me thought he was placing it on a bit, however I do not actually know the extent that his leg was broken. Clearly, like my hand was damaged [an injury suffered pre-tournament when it got caught in a car door], his leg was and he thought he was ok to play and he gained. He knew what he was doing. He bought it round in some way.”

Saturday: A surreal third spherical

Enjoying with Karlsson, a 38-year-old European Tour veteran, Woods once more made a double-bogey 6 on the opening gap. He shot 2-over-par 37 for the primary 9 holes. When he bogeyed the twelfth, he was 3 over for his spherical and three strokes again of Mediate. Then these final six holes occurred. An eagle on the thirteenth. A bogey on the 14th. With an ungainly lie beside a bunker on the par-4 seventeenth, he chipped in for a birdie. Then, to cap it off, Woods drained a 60-footer on the 18th for an eagle for the third-round 70.

Woods: “[After the poor start], I used to be 4 again and I used to be actually making an attempt to not have that hole widen. If I may preserve it the identical, nice. If I may slim the hole, even higher. After which I make the putt on 13, I bogey 14 with a tee shot approach proper, after which 15, that was the one when it actually damage. There have been a few photographs the place I may really feel the bone in my leg break. And the tee shot on 15 was one among them. I felt it crack.

“However I parred 15, parred 16 after which hit it approach proper on 17. I used to be simply making an attempt to get the ball into the left bunker and it ended up on the slope, which was even higher as a result of I may management the shot, and it got here out actually scorching. For those who learn my lips, I say, ‘Chew.’ And it one-hopped in. After which 18, I simply tried to hit a giant slice, aimed as far left as I may. If I get it in play, I knew I may [reach the green in 2] as a result of they’d the tee all the best way up and so I knew it will be a 3-wood or 5-wood into the inexperienced. And it damage previous affect once more and I used to be fairly sore after 15 and I needed to cease for a bit. However I hit the golf green, then hit the 5-wood onto the inexperienced and, lo and behold, I make the bomb.”

Gareth Lord, Karlsson’s caddie: “The putt on the inexperienced, I watched the entire thing, and midway there, I knew it was in. We got here off the course, Robert and I checked out one another … and we went straight to the bar and every had a big Johnnie Walker Blue. That was it. It was about $90 a shot, I promise you.”

The ultimate spherical: ‘The ache … was fixed’

Woods was main the U.S. Open with one spherical to play. On the time, nobody outdoors of his interior circle knew he was taking part in with two stress fractures in his tibia, the principle supply of his ache, on high of the ACL points. Every evening, Woods acquired therapy from his then-trainer, Keith Kleven, with the concept of making an attempt to get able to play the following day.

Woods, when requested if he ever thought he won’t be capable of proceed: “Not I am unable to [go on], however, ‘Boy, this hurts.’ … No matter backswing I made, no matter downswing I made, the ache solely bought me simply after affect. My complete focus for the week was to just about attempt to hit good photographs as a result of nothing was going to cease me from making high quality affect. Now, publish affect, I’ll not be capable of stroll for a little bit bit or it could throb, however the affect a part of it I may management. So all my focus was on making correct affect, and if it damage, it damage.

“Sam [Woods’ daughter, who was days away from her first birthday] was there. She had her little picket membership and he or she was hitting towards the ground and it stored me from eager about golf. However I may by no means get myself away from eager about the ache. It was simply fixed. The therapy was fixed all through the evening. I slept on the therapeutic massage desk, I had my knee drained, iced, elevated, labored on, simply making an attempt to get as a lot irritation out as I may. Then, I’d in some way begin activating it within the morning and that was the toughest half as a result of it was so wobbly. As soon as I lastly bought going, it was OK.”

Haney: “I am not likely positive tips on how to clarify it, but it surely was evident that, due to the harm, it was nearly like, ‘That is the final word problem. That is one thing that no one may ever do, but when I may do it, that it will be the largest mountain I’ve ever climbed.’ That motivation was actually robust for him.”

“Each single day, except I do not depart the home, I get a query about it. … It was essentially the most enjoyable I’ve ever had on a golf course, interval.”

Rocco Mediate on going through Tiger Woods in U.S. Open playoff

Tiger led by 1 over Lee Westwood, 2 over Mediate and three over Geoff Ogilvy and D.J. Trahan, and performed the ultimate spherical with Westwood, an Englishman who had climbed again from falling to two hundredth on the earth. Mediate was within the group forward with Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion. As soon as once more, Woods doubled the primary, then added a bogey on the second to drop 3 photographs over two holes. Woods did not declare a share of the lead once more till the eleventh gap, however he bogeyed the par-5 thirteenth and fifteenth to drop a shot again of Mediate.

Mackay: “The overwhelming reminiscence I’ve of that U.S. Open is that Tiger carried a lot weight in these days, guys would have bother getting over the psychological hump of separating themselves on the leaderboard. I believed it was the final word week the place Tiger’s legend stored the scores low. The truth that 1 beneath ended up taking part in off was so stunning to numerous us there. It spoke to his legend. The course was gettable. The fairways weren’t overwhelmingly slim. The greens weren’t agency. However nobody bought away from Tiger. It is no disrespect to anybody there. You’ve gotten it or you do not.”

Westwood: “Generally he grimaced, generally he did not. It was very on and off. We’re fairly pally and we talked all the best way round and I stored asking him if he was all proper. ‘Probably not’ was so far as he went. I believed he had simply pulled a muscle or one thing; I did not assume it was anyplace close to as unhealthy as we later discovered. I suppose that is Tiger for you.”

Closing spherical, continued: The essential 18th

A birdie on the par-5, 573-yard ending gap would have all however sealed the U.S. Open for Mediate, however he may solely handle a par. That meant Woods wanted to drive an 18-hole playoff and match Mediate at 283, 1 beneath par. That objective turned far tougher when Woods not solely missed the golf green off the tee and located a bunker to the left, however hit a poor layup shot with a 9-iron that missed the golf green on the best.

Left with 95 yards to the entrance of the inexperienced guarded by a pond, and 101 to the opening and taking part in out of the tough, Woods believed it was a 56-degree sand wedge shot; Williams knew the space known as for that, however argued as an alternative for Woods to hit much less membership, a 60-degree lob wedge.

Williams: “You get the yardage and it one hundred pc says it is a sand wedge. Grass was nonetheless moist as a result of the bushes had not allowed the solar to get there. … [But] every little thing informed me in my intestine that as a way to get that ball shut, it was with a lob wedge. Tiger could not see the rationale. Often in that scenario, whenever you’re taking part in, you need to be decisive. You do not need to be debating backwards and forwards and create any doubt. However I used to be totally satisfied, and I do not assume we ever mentioned a shot for that size of time.”

Woods: “Nicely, there have been a few issues that occurred the place I bought fortunate. One, that was nonetheless within the period of sq. grooves [which help get more spin on the ball but have since been outlawed]. And two, someone had hit out of that very same precise spot someday that week and I used to be truly in a divot. I may get clear contact, so I may get my sand wedge on the again of the ball so I knew I may spin it. Stevie satisfied me to hit 60 and I wanted to hit it as laborious as I may to get as a lot spin on the ball as I probably may.”

Earlier than Woods performed his third shot, Westwood was within the fairway considering his strategy. He, too, had discovered a bunker off the tee, then laid up into the golf green earlier than hitting his third onto the inexperienced. Now, it was Woods’ flip.

Mackay, who was watching on TV: “I keep in mind when he laid it up. The pin was in entrance and I believed he was in all types of bother. You simply would not assume he may generate sufficient spin to maintain the ball across the gap. I keep in mind studying that he had this dialog with Steve to hit the laborious 60 and generate as a lot spin as potential. To me, the third shot was as essential because the putt.”

Ogilvy: “It is ridiculous to make a birdie from there.”

Woods purposely aimed a bit to the best, in case the ball got here up quick; however the ball landed simply previous pin excessive, stopped, got here again and rolled ever so barely towards the opening. He had left himself a 12-footer to tie. Westwood’s strategy got here to relaxation 20 ft away, however above and to the left of the opening if trying from the golf green. He had a downhill putt that he did not hit laborious sufficient, the ball trailing off earlier than reaching the cup, leaving the stage to Woods.

Mackay: “I at all times thought a part of Tiger’s genius was his capacity to learn greens, and the flexibility to learn greens is essentially the most underrated talent in golf. I used to be watching with my spouse and I keep in mind telling her, he may push it, pull it or miss, however he most likely will not misinterpret it.”

Williams: “It is humorous, you are on the inexperienced there and I am simply going by way of my thoughts eager about tomorrow’s spherical already. He had a tremendous capacity to gap putts on the 18th inexperienced to tie or win. He seldom missed one. I did not have any doubt in my thoughts that he would make that putt.”

Woods: “I modified my stroke on that one a little bit bit as a result of it was going to be so bouncy. I hit up on it a little bit bit to attempt to get the ball rolling earlier. Rising up on poa annua [the type of grass on the greens], that is what I’ve at all times actually completed. I hit it extra with my arms and I made positive I launched it quite a bit. And I did, and I bought the ball rolling and it was bouncing in all places. The stroke felt good. After which the ball took endlessly to interrupt as a result of it was bouncing more often than not.”

Westwood: “The spectacular factor about Tiger is when he isn’t taking part in nicely, or not even feeling nicely, he can nonetheless discover a approach to get round, and that’s what nice gamers do. He hung in there, gave himself an opportunity on the 18th. And it is humorous, however after I had failed with my effort, I by no means felt for a second that Tiger was going to overlook his. Significantly, if it had been match play, I would have nearly given it to him. Why was I so positive? Nicely, simply because he was making every little thing round that stage of his profession, and particularly that day. It was a type of traditional Tiger moments.”

Pat Perez, who certified for the 2008 U.S. Open and grew up taking part in and dealing at Torrey Pines: “The putt wasn’t straightforward in any respect. Downhill on s—ty greens. I grew up on that stuff, it is brutal. You possibly can see it bouncing the entire time. You are hoping it stays on line. And it did. He is made that so many instances, it is like nothing.”

Mediate: “Do I need him to overlook it? Completely, I need him to overlook it. … I need to be the U.S. Open champion. I performed my butt off. If he misses, it is mine. However I knew he’d make it. And when he made it, I used to be like, ‘Yeah, all proper.’ I anticipated that to occur. Anyone else, I am already ready for the trophy. Anyone else, I do not care who they’re, and it is not even disrespectful. They are not him. Particularly in that day and age, what he was.”

After making his putt, Woods arched backward and shook his fists with putter in hand as he screamed to the sky: “I vividly keep in mind one factor about that celebration. I keep in mind screaming and I keep in mind realizing I used to be screaming on the sky. I used to be trying straight up. After which I put my head down shortly as a result of I used to be questioning what I used to be doing.”

The playoff: Everybody’s watching

For the third time in Woods’ profession, he was headed to a playoff in a serious. Woods lastly parred the primary gap and constructed a 2-shot lead by way of 9 however made bogeys on the eleventh and twelfth. Mediate birdied the 14th and fifteenth to take a 1-shot lead. When Woods narrowly missed a birdie strive on the seventeenth, he was once more confronted with being 1 shot down taking part in the 18th. Mediate once more settled for a par on the house gap. Woods, who this time hit the inexperienced in 2, knocked his eagle putt to win by 4 ft, then made the birdie putt to drive sudden dying after each gamers shot 71.

Mediate: “One factor I seen in the course of the day … Tiger’s fist pumps are infamous and noteworthy and there is instances when they need to occur as a result of it is so thrilling. It did not occur as soon as on Monday. Surprise why that was. I have not requested him. Not as soon as. He had a number of alternatives to stay it to me. He did not. I do not know why.”

Streelman, who held a share of the first-round lead: “The Vacationers Championship had a [charter] aircraft for gamers to go from the U.S. Open to their event. So, on Monday morning, we had been taking off proper when the playoff began. Each particular person on the aircraft — the gamers, their households — was watching the playoff on their TVs. Once we land in Hartford, Tiger and Rocco are going into the playoff gap and nobody bought off the aircraft. I appeared out the window and noticed the courtesy carts ready for us and nobody bought off the aircraft till the playoff was over. I will always remember that.”

Sudden dying started on the seventh, a dogleg proper par-4. If mandatory, it will proceed to the eighth after which the 18th. Woods hit a drive within the fairway and knocked his strategy on the inexperienced to about 20 ft, however Mediate hit his drive right into a fairway bunker, after which his strategy went left and into the spectator grandstand, from which he would obtain a free drop.

Davis, one of many USGA guidelines officers with the group: “We had obligatory drop zones for sure TIOs [temporary immovable obstructions]. I may see the place Rocco was going to drop the ball [in the drop zone noted by a white circle], and there was an opportunity he was going to drop it and have it bounce out. Many gamers assume if it goes outdoors of the painted drop zone, they must re-drop it. Or if it goes nearer to the opening, they must re-drop it. That is not the case with these drop zones — so long as it is inside two membership lengths from the place it strikes the golf course. Positive sufficient, it bounced out of the circle, and Rocco goes to choose it up, and I’m going ‘Rocco!’ He says, ‘What?’ I stated, ‘Ball’s in play.’ And I’ve typically thought, oh my god, you speak about guidelines fiascos. That will have been horrible. The U.S. Open principally would have ended there. It could have been a 1-stroke penalty.”

It nearly turned anticlimactic at this level, as Mediate pitched onto the inexperienced however missed an extended par putt. Woods lagged his birdie putt towards the opening and tapped in for the victory.

None of Woods’ main championship victories had been like this one, the one he stated was his “hardest, by far.” He had gained a Masters by 12, a U.S. Open by 15 and an Open by 8. For essentially the most half, Woods no less than seemed to be in management, even when there have been some notable slips alongside the best way earlier than righting himself. However the 2008 U.S. Open noticed wincing, limping and an inordinate variety of poor photographs. Over 72 holes, Woods had 42 pars, 17 birdies, three eagles, 4 doubles and 10 bogeys to get to minus-1.

Woods: “For those who look again on it, there was one factor I did nicely your entire week — I made every little thing. You take a look at the 2008 U.S. Open, the 2000 U.S. Open, the 2000 British Open and the 1997 Masters, in these 4 majors, I actually do not keep in mind lacking a putt inside 10 ft. I had a type of particular weeks, and the 2008 U.S. Open was one among them. I felt so good with the putter. It was only a matter of, ‘Can I get myself on the inexperienced in due time to make the most of it?’ And I had that one stretch on Friday on the entrance 9 the place I bought myself in place and I made every little thing.”

Mediate: “Each single day, except I do not depart the home, I get a query about it. Everybody says, ‘I used to be at Torrey on Monday, it was essentially the most unbelievable factor I’ve ever seen, the best way you performed.’ I am like, yeah, however I nonetheless misplaced. I preserve watching the replays. … ‘Nevertheless it appeared such as you had been having a lot enjoyable.’ You assume? I get to play for the nationwide Open towards the No. 1 participant on the earth on a Monday for a playoff. What’s not enjoyable about this? It was essentially the most enjoyable I’ve ever had on a golf course, interval.”

Two days after the playoff, Woods introduced to the world he had a double stress fracture in his left tibia and would wish surgical procedure. ACL substitute surgical procedure occurred every week later, ending his season at simply seven occasions — with 5 victories. He wouldn’t return to competitors till 9 months later.

ESPN characteristic producer Tory Zawacki Roy contributed to this report.


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