SAN DIEGO – In the days leading up to the 2008 U.S. Open, Mike Davis, who at the time was in charge of setting up the national championship, was considering the unprecedented move of grouping the world’s top 3 players – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott – for the first two rounds at Torrey Pines.
That plan was nearly derailed by a simple phone call.
“I had gotten a call from Mark Steinberg, who's Tiger's agent, everybody knew that Tiger was having an issue with the leg but nobody knew the extent,” Davis recalled Wednesday at Torrey Pines. “Mark said, ‘Mike, I need to share with you that Tiger has fractured his leg in a few places.’ And I said, ‘What?’
“He goes, ‘Yeah, and he's going to try to play. I would ask you not to share that information with anybody.’”
Davis decided to forge ahead with the top-3 pairing, although he knew there was a possibility that Woods would have to withdraw from the championship.
Woods defied his doctor’s warnings that he shouldn’t play the championship and despite being in obvious pain he finished 72 holes tied with Rocco Mediate for the lead and withstood a 19-hole playoff on Monday to win his third U.S. Open.
“Tuesday morning [after the playoff], very early, I walked from the hotel the whole way out to the fourth green. There was a grandstand there overlooking the ocean, and I sat there just by myself for about 30 minutes thinking, I cannot believe I was a part of this. I witnessed history,” said Davis, who is stepping down as executive director of the USGA after this week’s championship. “It's never going to get any better.”