Tiger wins by 15 at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Tiger Woods came into the year 2000 on fire. After finally winning his second major championship, he won four of his final five tournaments in 1999 and started the new millennium with two more victories, the first coming at the Mercedes Championship followed by a win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which might have given him a little confidence seeing as how the U.S. Open would be played at the same venue.
But then look at the stretch that followed. In the nine tournaments between his appearances at Pebble Beach, Tiger finished out of the top five only once. He had two wins, three seconds, a third, a fourth and a fifth, the fifth-place finish coming at Augusta. The only finish outside of the top five was a tie for 18th at the Nissan Open. So it’s safe to say that coming into the 2000 U.S. Open that Tiger was ready to go.
Things were actually close after the first round…when scoring conditions were still ideal. Woods led by just one over Miguel Angel Jimenez after a 6-under 65. He had been lucky enough to tee off early and took advantage of the scoring conditions, which would change later in the day as fog rolled in, causing 75 players to finish their first round on Friday morning.
The inclement weather continued into Friday but while it seemed to affect just about everyone else, Tiger seemed not to notice. He was able to get 12 holes in that day and it was his second shot at the par-5 6th hole that prompted NBC announcer Roger Maltbie to just go ahead and say what everyone else was thinking.
“It’s just not a fair fight.”
And it wasn’t. Tiger capped off that day by holing a 30-foot birdie in near darkness and by the time he finished his round on Saturday, he was at 8-under for the tournament and six clear of the field. In a round where the average score was 76, Woods shot a 69. Just think about that. There were only 17 players in the field that were within 10 strokes of Tiger when the second round was completed. That’s unheard of.
Tiger shot an even-par 71 in his third round and yet his lead had grown to 10. A 10-shot advantage heading into the final round. Ernie Els, who played well and shot a 68 to get into the final pairing, was in absolute awe and said that the two “weren’t playing in the same ballpark.” He got an up-close look at just how dominant Tiger was on that final day as Woods fired a final-round 67 to win the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the largest-ever victory in a major championship and a record that will never be even close to being touched.
In what is still looked at by many as the most dominating performance in the history of the game, Tiger was the only man in the field to finish under par. But history was just getting started.