Home Golf Tiger Woods’ best victory at the US Open: In his own words

Tiger Woods’ best victory at the US Open: In his own words


In 2008, Tiger Woods won the 14th out of his 15 major titles in an astonishing fashion. Steve Carroll revisits first Tory Pines saga to host the US Open

Tiger Woods hasn’t walked 18 holes since the Masters.

His left knee is missing an anterior cruciate ligament. Even worse, he suffered two stress fractures in the same leg.

He can barely walk, sprays shots all over the golf course in practice, and displays an excruciating grimace that would become familiar to all over the course of a week of stress-filled competition.

There was no way he could do it. “I’ve heard that before,” Woods said in preparation.

In a way, he defied everyone – doctors, family, expectations – to score one of the greatest victories of his career.

It’s been more than a decade since Tiger won his 14th major title at the US Open at Torrey Pines – finally getting rid of the stubborn Rocco Mediati after a 91-hole thrilling game of golf.

The tournament had it all. Using transcripts of interviews from that time, we relive his epic heyday…

Woods tops the leaderboard at 3-under going into the final round, leading Lee Westwood by one stroke and Mediate by two.

He’s won every major tournament he’s had at least a lead on on the final day but he started with a devastating double bob.

He loses another shot at the second but aggregates with the sparrows at 9 and 11, only to bogey on day 13.

Mediate shoots a steady 71 but breaks the last hole. Westwood can’t fly in Final Level 5 and misses it with one hit.

That leaves Woods with 12 feet for the Birds at 18 to force a playoff…

Woods: “This was actually one of the worst parts of the Green Zone.

“It’s very bumpy out there. I kept telling myself two and a half balls out right, but make sure you stay committed to it, do a clean stroke, and if it goes in, or out, it doesn’t matter, as long as I’m making a clean stroke.”

It took forever to break it, but it finally crept in there in the end. It’s like, hey, we got another day. I gave myself a chance.”

mediate: “It was the most amazing day at golf ever. I’ve never been there like this before.

“And I just found out what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter how you get it, you just have to get it and trust what you’ve worked on your whole life.

“There is nothing technical that happens, it all makes the ball go where you want it to go. Something amazing.

“The most surprising thing is that the man I’m playing tomorrow won 13 of those. It’s amazing how long it takes. I gave it my all today and I can’t complain.

“I knew he was going to make that hit.”

If Tiger predicts Mediate will be out in the playoff, he’s taken aback.

The opponent’s jumper leads three holes after 10 holes, is three in a row from 13 to 15 and has a one-hit advantage last time.

But, just as on the day before, only the Par birds and Woods Mediate can force sudden death. Parity in the seventh puts an end to the exhilarating tournament.

Woods: “I don’t even know how I got this far, but I’m very, very lucky to have played 91 holes and then made it to the top.”

mediate: “I threw everything I had, everything I had. He had to burn the last to stay in it again and he did. It’s cool. But I got stuck. I got out there in the middle, I was third, and I didn’t play really badly.”

Woods: “I missed hitting hits there at 14, I felt like I was still in control of the championship until I missed it.

“Then all of a sudden, OK, here we go. Now it’s a ball game. Now we’re all tied up. He hit the head there at 15 and if he doesn’t hit the hole he’s 10 or 12 feet away.

“But he hit her dead center and she got in. I missed out on the top side and it was a lot slower and still going four feet away.

“I was like, ‘Oh, here we go. If I miss that hit, the tournament ends. I made it, I thought I made the next one at 16. It’s, “Oh, geez, here we go.”

“I need something. I need another jumper two holes. And the score went down to 18. Roc made a mistake, he didn’t put the ball in the lane, he didn’t give himself a chance to make it twice.

“I did it and expected to at least put myself in a position that if I had to do a long job, at least I was in a position to make one.

“I wasn’t going after that pin, but at least it gave myself a chance, if I had to take the hits, if it stuffed it in there, at least I had a chance.

“And I played a little conservative on my second shot. Then Rock hit it 18 feet and when he did, I knew four was probably going to get me into a playoff. Sorry, playoff, playoff.”

mediate: “Hit on 18… I said to myself, ‘You’ve waited your whole life for this. Don’t fall behind. Just give it speed. I just grabbed it to the touch. A little nervous. But I can’t complain. I did my best.”

Woods: “I’m glad I’m done. I’m done. I really don’t want to play anymore. [My knee] It is a little painful. All I can say is the atmosphere is what kept me going.

“The Championship, being a major tournament here in Torrey Pines, all people, I could never have withdrawn in front of these people. It wouldn’t happen.”

mediate: “I never give up. I got hit a few times and came back and got what I wanted. I had the chance to beat the best player in the world and I came out with a short touch. But I think I made him scared once, and that was great. He just told me ‘Great fight’ And that makes it a little better. I guess.”

Tiger Woods vs. Rocco Medet: Epic US Open 2008

Hole 1 (bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (e)
Mediator: 5 (+1)

Hole 2 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (e)
Medium: 4 (+1)

Hole 3 (Bar 3)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Mediator: 2 (e)

Hole 4 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Mediator: 4 (e)

Hole 5 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Mediator: 5 (+1)

Hole 6 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 3 (e)
Medium: 4 (+1)

Hole 7 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 3 (-1)
Medium: 4 (+1)

Hole 8 (Bar 3)
Jungle: 4 (e)
Medium: 3 (+1)

Hole 9 (Bar 5)
Jungle: 5 (e)
Mediator: 6 (+2)

Hole 10 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (e)
Average: 5 (+3)

Hole 11 (Bar 3)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Average: 5 (+3)

Hole 12 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 5 (+2)
Average: 4 (+3)

Hole 13 (Bar 5)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Mediator: 4 (+2)

Hole 14 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Medium: 3 (+1)

Hole 15 (bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Mediator: 3 (e)

Hole 16 (Bar 3)
Jungle: 3 (+1)
Mediator: 3 (e)

Hole 17 (bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (+1)
Mediator: 4 (e)

Hole 18 (bar 5)
Jungle: 4 (e)
Mediator: 5 (e)

Playoff between sudden death:

Hole 7 (Bar 4)
Jungle: 4 (e)
Mediator: 5 (+1)

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