I know what you’re thinking, it’s the day after the NFL Draft ended and there’s plenty of sports news to talk about and Diggs is over here writing a blog about a golf tournament that happened 20 years ago – You bet your sweet ass I am. Now just like any other white guy that finds himself having a little bit of extra time and income, I have become obsessed with the game of golf. It may be because after years of drinking, eating, and all around abusing my body that golf is basically the only sport I can play without wanting to kill myself, but I can’t get enough of it. I have spent the day on YouTube and came across a documentary that talks about an absolute display of dominance from a young Tiger Woods and felt obliged to talk about it.
In the golf community, it is known that the US Open is supposed to be the most difficult tournament to play in. They rotate between some of the toughest courses in the country, and this specific tournament happened to take place at the toughest of them all – Pebble Beach. This tournament was particularly special for a few reasons: It was the 100th US Open; it was the former GOAT Jack Nicklaus’s last Open; and It was the first US Open since the defending champ, Payne Stewart’s tragic death. What Tiger Woods did over the next four days of golf was nothing short of legendary.
We start on the first round of golf on Thursday which ended up being Tiger’s best round of the tournament. He was putting balls in holes like nobody had ever seen before (insert Denny’s waitress joke here). He was taking risky shots while everybody else in the field was playing it safe to stay alive. He finished the day by setting a tournament record low score – 65 shots (-6 under par). Unfortunately for him, there were a few other golfers that ended up having career days as well, so Tiger ended up only have a 1-stroke lead going into Friday.
The next day ended up being delayed due to fog, so Tiger’s tee up to start the round was not until 4:30pm. Right as Jack Nicklaus was finishing up what would be his last round of US Open golf ever (he missed the cut), Tiger is teeing off on the first hole, essentially representing the official passing of the GOAT Torch in golf. After another solid day of golf, Tiger ended up having to stop on the 11th hole since it was getting dark, and had to finish the rest of his round early Saturday morning. Now anybody who has ever played sports/is a gambling degenerate knows that the last thing you ever want to do when you are on a heater is stop, so this was tough for Tiger. He ended finishing the round 2-under and went into the clubhouse with a 6-stroke lead.
Saturday turned out to be the most difficult day for Tiger. He had a 7 hour break after finishing his second round before he had to get right back after it. He started off the day not playing well at all. He was hitting balls out of bounds, getting stuck in sand traps, and not putting great at all. On one hole he ever got a triple bogey. Now since Tiger is a god amongst humans, he came right back out on the back 9 and crushed it. Although he had finished the day right at par, his lead had now grown to 10 strokes.
Any other golfer at this point would decide that a 10 stroke lead is plenty and just cruise to an easy victory, but of course Tiger Woods is not like any other golfer. He had given himself a challenge that morning that he was going to play the final round without getting a single bogey. Just for reference, if I could even bogey one hole at Pebble Beach, I would probably burst into tears of joy and have my putter mounted above my bed. So going into the day with a 10 stroke lead, Tiger ends going the entire round without getting a single bogey. He finishes the day at -4, which had put him at -12 for the tournament. Typically in golf tournaments the winner ends up leading by a handful of strokes, but not when Tiger Woods is dialed in. Tiger ends up winning the tournament by 15 strokes, which was a US Open record. Could you imagine how demoralizing that must have been to be one of the other golfers? You play your absolute best round of your life and end up losing by 15 strokes. One other fact I haven’t mentioned yet was Tiger’s age at the time: 24. Being 25, this really makes me feel like a piece of shit.
So as we patiently wait for the return of sports, we must take a moment to realize the greatness of Eldrick “Tiger” Woods and be appreciative of the fact that 20 years later he is still out there dominating. His rise back to glory over the past couple of years has been nothing sport of inspiring, and there is still a lot of gas left in the tank. Here are some highlights from that tourney: