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Remember... The 2008 US Open


With Tiger poised for his second win of the year in just three starts (I don't count the match play tourney, he always loses early in those just like how chicks don't count guys they sleep with, when on vacation.) I just couldn't stop thinking about how incredible his last major tournament win was. He competed against the best in the world in the toughest tournament on the planet, with a busted knee, yet he managed to win in some of the most exciting fashion we have seen.


He had arthroscopic knee surgery just two days after the Masters. Then figured he would try and compete in just the major tournaments, but after re-breaking his leg and the ligaments in his knee he realized he would have to do it every time, and since he did end up winning this one it probably wasn't worth it.


Tiger started the tournament off with a double bogey on the first, which he did three times that weekend. But managed to get it back to under par at the turn before another double bogey on 14 made his day end with a +1 score putting him four back of the lead.


Round two Tiger teed off on 10 and started with four bogeys and an eagle on his first nine. What Tiger did next is what set up the memories. Limping around on the first hole, his tenth, the hole that he double bogeyed the other three rounds, he took aim at the green from a cart path on his approach shot, sticking it and scoring a birdie. He shot a 30 on that side. Five under par, on a bad leg. He had gotten himself just one shot back of leader Stuart Appleby.


As crazy as the second round was round three was even weirder. Overnight leader Appleby shot an eight over 79 to take himself out of contention. Tiger obviously started with a double bogey and ended up finishing the front nine two over. Then he bogeyed 12 putting him one over for the tournament three shots back of Mediate. Then the final six holes happened. He eagled 13 bogeyed 14, then at 17 this happened...


then 18...

You can't tell me you didn't just get goosebumps for both of those videos. On 17 even he knew he got lucky. He hit a stinger, that ball should have jumped 10 feet passed the hole but it landed perfectly and dropped in the hole. 18 couldn't have been more different. The announcers were saying he's crazy for aiming so far outside, but he dropped it for eagle and the outright lead. You could feel the magic of the moment from your house. Just incredible


Then Sunday came. Tiger made his usual double bogey at one and we had ourselves a tournament. After the first round USGA president Jim Vernon didn't think Tiger would be back for round two that's how much pain he was in. So imagine two more days of wearing out your bum knee and a nice double bogey on the first hole and bogey on the second. It would have been easy to give up and fall off the leader board. But not Tiger, he didn't have that in him then.


He battled back with birdies at nine and eleven. But when he bogeyed the par 5 13th I think we all assumed he just ran out of steam. You can't win the toughest golf tournament on the planet on one leg, you just can't. That was when he was tied for the lead. Then he bogeyed 15 dropping him a shot from the lead. Rocco finished with three straight pars, a luxury Tiger didn't have any longer. He needed to pick up another shot somewhere. He parred 16 and 17 so it came down to 18. His playing partner, Lee Westwood, also could make birdie to for a playoff on 18. Seeing as to how he still doesn't have a major victory it was a rather hungry 18th hole.


He hooked his drive into a fairway bunker, then played his next shot, a layup, poorly, and left him very unsatisfied. He had about 100 yards to the hole, from a spot Geoff Ogilvy said would be ridiculous to make birdie from. He took aim right of the hole to be safe and landed about 15 feet away from the hole leaving that for his birdie bid and a playoff with Rocco Mediate for the 2008 US Open Championship.


Westwood first had his 20 footer to have his hand in the playoff but his putt sailed off at the end, since he didn't seem to hit it firm enough. Setting the stage for something I'm sure you remember...

That set the stage for an 18 hole playoff. A US Open rule that would not favor the injured Tiger. When Monday came there were questions galore that only time would answer.


The front nine seemed to answer all of those as Tiger held a two shot lead at the turn. Then Rocco bogeyed the 10th giving Tiger a three shot lead and the tournament seemed just about over. Then Tiger bogeyed 11 and 12, Rocco birdied 14 and 15 and suddenly Rocco had found the lead once again. Tiger blew a birdie opportunity on 17 leaving just 18 to make up one shot on Rocco. Tiger had a chance to eagle but knocked the putt 3 feet past. Then Rocco had a chance to birdie and shut Tiger out couldn't do it. Tiger's birdie was enough to force even more golf. Just what a guy with a fractured leg and a blown knee needs.


Sudden death would start at the par 4 seventh. Tiger gave himself a shot at a 20 footer for birdie by hitting the green in two. Where Rocco hit his drive into a fairway bunker. Then played his second into the grandstands, where he got a free drop wedged on and missed his par putt. That gave Tiger his most recent and perhaps most exciting major championship.


Hopefully we will get to see more drama like this from Tiger in the near future. He's dominating again today and has all of our hopes up for this season. But whether or not he can get back over the hump will depend on if he can get his killer instinct back, or if he's just going to try and par away the field. That might not be enough. The sky is still the limit for Tiger Woods, we may be in for a historical year of golf. And a lot of fun along the way.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

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