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The 2000 Majors Tiger Completes the Circuit

THE MASTERS
 
In a major where just everybody who's anybody in golf had a chance to win, Vijay Singh was able to come away with the green jacket.
 
David Duval, Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Tom Lehman, Davis Love, Phil Mickelson, Hal Sutton . all had their chances. Singh finally won because, like the old saying goes, he played the best on the back nine Sunday. He won by three shots, partly because of sparkling play, partly because of good old-fashioned luck.
 
Woods made a dramatic effort, but two wayward shots in the first round cost him dearly - a double bogey at No. 10 and a triple bogey at No. 12. That placed him far back and he had just a little too much to make up to make it all the majors in one year.
 
Singh sent an approach shot into the pond at No. 11 Sunday, but was permitted to drop just short of the green and escaped with a bogey. At No. 12 he airmailed the green, but instead of being in jail with playing partner David Duval, the ball kicked out to a cushy lie in a back bunker.
 
At the par-5 13, Singh safely reached in two shots while Duval hit a 5-iron fat and into water. That two-shot swing when Duval was in second and mounting a serious charge was the final hurdle. Singh made all the big putts coming home on Augusta's tricky greens, and the long-suffering Fijian romped home a winner.
 
THE 100th U.S. OPEN
 
Tiger Woods took over the last three majors, beginning with the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. There wasn't much suspense after the opening round, when Woods had one-stroke lead over Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and two over John Huston. Woods shot a 65 in the first round and he was never headed. 'From the first hole he started dominating, and he never let go,' said Ernie Els, who was 15 shots behind come Sunday night but still in a tie second place.
 
Woods either had the best round or equaled it in three of the four rounds. In the third round, when he had a triple-bogey 7 at the third hole, his 71 equaled the best round of the day. By the end of the third round he had a 10-shot lead, leveling at 15 when it was over and a setting a record for the most dominating performance ever in a major, beating Old Tom Morris at the British Open in 1862. Old Tom had won that one by 13 strokes, which was the record before this one.
 
'If you look back at each and every round, I made important par putts,' he said. 'Those big par putts, you have to make them in the U.S. Open. If you miss a green, you're going to have the eight- or 10-footers or longer for par.'
 
Woods concluded the tournament by shooting a 32 for the final nine holes. But if anything sums up the week, it is a 15-footer for par he made at 16. He shook his fist dramatically at the ball, leaving absolutely nothing to chance at this demolition.
 
THE 129th BRITISH OPEN
 
Tiger Woods and records . what else do you want? This time the record was most under par, 19, which he established while wrecking historic old St. Andrews. They don't keep such records, but he must have set something when he escaped each and every little pot bunker while cruising to an eight-shot win.
 
In so doing, he became the youngest player ever to win golf's grand slam - the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Tiger was 24 years old, beating the record of Jack Nicklaus, who did the trick when he was 26.
 
As in the U.S. Open, Woods failed to lead in the first round, but after Round 2, there was no question whom the eventual winner would be. It was Woods by three after the second round, Woods by five after the third, and finally Woods by eight at the conclusion.

David Duval and Ernie Els make brief attempts at the title, but Tiger was the only consistent threat after the tournament got into the second round. Els led after Day 1 by one stroke over Woods, but he couldn't sustain the excellence. Duval trimmed Woods' lead to three in the final round, but self-detonated in the final seven holes, playing them in seven-over-par.
 
THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
 
Bob May will live forever as the man who made Tiger take a deep breath on the way to the 2000 majors. May led by one with four holes to go, but Woods found it within himself to tie it up at the end of regulation, then run away with the victory in the new three-hole PGA format.
 
For a change, Tiger was actually tied for the lead at the end of the first day. But he couldn't seem to shake the field as he had done in the U.S. and British Opens. Scott Dunlop was tied with him at the end of Round 1, was only one behind at the end of the second round, and at the end of the third round was tied with May, still just one behind Woods.
 
Dunlop stepped aside the final day, but May didn't. And it appeared on No. 15 the championship was May's with Woods about to go down by three strokes. He was staring at a 15-foot putt for par, not exactly the kind of roller you just stroke into the hole. And May was looking at a six-footer for birdie.
 
Tiger made it, though, and May missed. Given a reprieve now and still just one shot back two holes later, Tiger lobbed a wedge to four feet and made the putt. That tied it and led to a miracle birdie putt on 18 by May, which Tiger covered with a birdie of his own.

A 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole started it right for Tiger. The next hole he scrambled for par, then rescued par on the final hole after he had hit three poor shots. Woods had won, just as he won in monstrous fashion at the U.S. Open, just as he had in easy fashion at the British Open.