Magical Finish Gives Woods Open Lead

By Associated PressJune 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
2008 U.S. OpenSAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Open went prime time, and so did Tiger Woods.
 
With unbearable pain and three unforgettable shots, Woods turned in one of his most memorable performances in a major Saturday by holing two long eagle putts, chipping in for birdie and somehow taking a one-shot lead over Lee Westwood.
 
Right when some 50,000 fans at Torrey Pines thought they had seen it all, Woods knocked in a 30-foot eagle on the 18th for a 1-under 70 and his first 54-hole lead in the U.S. Open since he won at Bethpage Black in 2002.
 
That he made it to the finish line was nearly as impressive as a magical array of shots.
 
His tender left knee first buckled on the 15th hole, and Woods used his club as a cane to get down the fairway, limping along while trying to stay in the hunt. He played the final six holes in 4 under -- and that included a bogey -- and will play in the final group for the sixth time in the last eight majors.
 
This time he has the lead, and he has never lost a major from the front.
 
But he has never won a major with a limp, either.
 
'Is it getting worse? Yes, it is,' said Woods, playing for the first time since surgery April 15 to clean out cartilage in his left knee. 'Certain shots, I'll feel it. I can't say it's a drive, can't say it's a wedge. I'm not sure what shot it's going to happen on.'
 
Woods was at 3-under 210, one of only three players still under par.
 
As spectacular as Woods played, Westwood got it done with steady golf so often required at this major. He holed a short birdie putt on the par-5 13th and finished with five straight pars, missing a 4-foot birdie on the last hole for a 70. The 35-year-old from England has never had this good an opportunity in a major.
 
'It will be nice going out last tomorrow and having a chance,' Westwood said.
 
Rocco Mediate, trying to become the oldest U.S. Open champion at age 45, looked as though he would leave everyone behind when he made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to reach 4-under and kept putting his shots in the fairway and on the green.
 
But a three-putt bogey on the 13th was the start of a four-hole stretch that he played 4-over par. That included a chip he bladed over the green and into a bunker for double bogey on the 15th. He had to settle for a 72 and was at 1-under 212.
 
Woods, grimacing with every step over the final hour in sunshine, lightly pumped his fist and smiled when his 30-foot eagle on the final hole broke sharply to the right down the hill and straightened in time to fall into the cup for his third eagle of the tournament.
 
There were other reasons to look so content.
 
'I'm done,' Woods said. 'It was nice that I could finish this round.'
 
The U.S. Open was broadcast in prime time, and Woods played the leading role with a six-hole stretch that was equal part drama, comedy and even science fiction -- the last six holes were out of this world.
 
Woods was five shots behind standing at the back of the 13th green, facing a dangerously quick putt down the ridge from 70 feet. It was reminiscent of his putt on the 17th green at Sawgrass in 2001, minus the island. The line was perfect, speeding down the slope and bending sharply to the left in the final foot for an unlikely eagle.
 
Woods turned and pumped both fists, walking briskly.
 
But it was the tee shot two holes later where the pain could no longer be disguised. He took his hand off the driver immediately on the 15th and bent to the ground, balancing himself with his right finger twice. Two holes later, he again failed to get through the swing and sent his tee shot well to the right, again doubling over.
 
He braced each step with the club as he walked, putting drama into every shot.
 
Woods put his approach on the 17th into thick grass between a bunker and the green, giving him an awkward stance with his weight on the painful left side. The flop shot came out hot, and Woods looked concerned as he barked out instruction: 'Bite!'
 
It took one hop and disappeared in the bottom of the cup, and Woods broke into embarrassing laughter as caddie Steve Williams held out his hand to help him onto the green. That put Woods within one shot going to the par-5 18th, and he manufactured a cut shot to hit a fairway for the first time since the 10th hole.
 
He followed that with another cut shot, this time with a 5-wood, and the pain returned. Even as the ball descended against blue skies, Woods winced and stared at the ground, never seeing that it finished in the middle of the green.
 
'It was just exciting all day,' Mediate said. 'It was cool to be a part of that.'
 
The third round sure didn't shape up to contain that much excitement at the start.
 
Whatever momentum Woods carried from his back-nine 30 on Friday was gone when his opening tee shot settled into deep grass left of the first fairway. He was buried in the rough again, short of the green, hit a flop shot to the back collar, stubbed a chip and made double bogey for the second time in three days.
 
But he wasn't alone in his misery.
 
Stuart Appleby, who had a one-shot lead to start the third round, made bogey from the bunker on the opening hole by missing a 5-foot putt. That was one of his better efforts.
 
He stood over an 18-foot birdie putt on the fifth hole. Four putts later, he had a double bogey. Equally devastating was the par-5 ninth, when he turned a 3-foot birdie into a three-putt bogey. He finished with a 79 after his only birdie on the 18th.
 
D.J. Trahan three-putted for par on the 18th hole and threw his ball in the pond after a 73, leaving him at 1-over 214 along with former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who overcame a double bogey on the 14th for a 72.
 
Phil Mickelson finally put a driver in his bag, but it was the wedge that ended his dream of a U.S. Open victory in his hometown. In a 'Tin Cup' moment without the water, Lefty watched three sand wedge shots from 80 yards roll back to his feet on the par-5 13th before the fourth stayed up, and then he three-putted for a quadruple-bogey 9 -- his highest score in 1,206 holes at the U.S. Open -- on his way to a 76. He was at 10-over 223.
 
At least he was able to relive some childhood moments.
 
'I've had a 9 on 13,' Mickelson said. 'I was 8 years old. I have had a 9 there.'
 
Ogilvy could only rely on his own experience, when he won at Winged Foot two years ago as everyone collapsed at the end.
 
'You don't know what's going to happen in the last round at a U.S. Open,' he said.
 
Such is the case at Torrey Pines, even with Woods atop the leaderboard.
 
Related Links:
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    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.