Golf

US Open countdown: Tiger Woods rewrites Open record book with win at Pebble Beach

100th U.S. Open | June 15-18, 2000

Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Leaderboard

Tiger Woods, United States 65 - 69 - 71 - 67 272
Miguel Angel Jimenez, Spain 66 - 74 - 76 - 71 287
Ernie Els, South Africa 74 - 73 - 68 - 72 287
John Huston, United States 67 - 75 - 76 - 70 288
Padraig Harrington, Northern Ireland 73 - 71 - 72 - 73 289
Lee Westwood, England 71 - 71 - 76 - 71 289

It was the 100th birthday of the national open.

And Tiger Woods blew out all the candles at this centennial celebration in a hurry.

From the time he made a birdie from the 18th-hole greenside bunker to the close of Sunday, Woods simply dominated a U.S. Open field like no man ever had.

Among the 10 U.S. Open records he set that week:

• He became the first player in U.S. Open history to finish 72 holes at double digits under par (12 under).



• His 15-stroke triumph not only shattered the previous Open record of 11, set by Willie Smith in 1899, but it also was the largest margin of victory at a major championship — previous mark was a 13-stroke win by Old Tom Morris at the 1862 British Open.



• His 272 tied the lowest tournament score ever, matching Jack Nicklaus (1980) and Lee Janzen (1993), who both accomplished that at par-70 Baltusrol Golf Club.



“Records are great, but you don’t really pay attention to that,” Woods told reporters afterward. “The only thing I know is I got the trophy sitting right next to me.”

It was a scintillating week for sure, starting with the pre-tournament tribute to the late Payne Stewart, who would have been the defender had he not died in an airplane accident six months earlier.

A group of golfers simultaneously tee off from the 18th fairway into the Pacific Ocean as sort of a 21-gun salute to Stewart, a two-time U.S. Open winner. And Jack Nicklaus was asked to occupy Stewart’s spot in the traditional grouping with the British Open and U.S. Amateur winners, which he accepted to make it his final national open.

Woods opened with a 65 — the best score of the tournament. After that, he lead grew to six strokes following the second round, 10 after the third round – and then to 15.

He made par or better on his final 26 holes — a mind-blowing number considering how difficult the course was playing (7-over 149 was the cut).

As he walked down the final fairway to close out the tournament, the gallery filled the surrounding area to the brim. Sailboats were lined up in Stillwater Cove to witness history.

The first wire-to-wire winner since 1970, Woods won his 20th PGA Tour event in his 100th start. The win gave him his 14th win in his past 25 tournaments worldwide.

The win also triggered what arguably is the greatest year ever seen by one man in golf. Later in the summer, he won the British Open at St. Andrews, becoming the youngest golfer (24) to complete the career “Grand Slam” of golf.

In fact, his U.S. Open win would be the first leg of what is regarded as the “Tiger Slam” — holding all four major titles at the same time.

todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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