Tiger Woods hasn’t walked 18 holes since the Masters.
His left knee is missing its anterior cruciate ligament. Worse still, he’s suffered two stress fractures in the same leg.
He can barely walk, spraying shots all over the golf course in practice, and displaying a pain-racked grimace that would become familiar to everyone over a week of pressure-packed competition.
There was no way he could possibly do it.
“I’ve heard that before,” said Woods in the run-up.
Somehow, he defied everyone – doctors, family and expectation – to pull off what is surely the greatest triumph of his career.
It’s been a decade since Tiger claimed his 14th major title at the US Open at Torrey Pines – finally wearing out a stubborn Rocco Mediate after 91 holes of sensational golf.
The tournament had everything. Using transcripts of interviews from the time, we relive his epic climax…
Woods tops the leaderboard at 3 under going into the final round, leading Lee Westwood by a shot and Rocco Mediate by two.
He’s won every major championship where he’s at least shared a lead going into the last day but starts with a damaging double bogey.
He loses another shot at the second but rallies with birdies at 9 and 11, only to bogey the 13th.
Mediate shoots a steady 71 but pars the last hole. Westwood can’t birdie the final par 5 either and misses out by a shot.
That leaves Woods with 12 feet for a birdie at the 18th to force a play-off…
Woods: That was actually one of the worst parts of the green.
It’s so bumpy down there. And I just kept telling myself two and a half balls outside the right, but make sure you stay committed to it, make a pure stroke and if it plinkos in, or plinkos out it doesn’t matter, as long as I make a pure stroke.
And I did. I hit it good. It took forever to break, but it finally snuck in there at the end. It’s just like, hey, we got one more day. I gave myself a chance.
Mediate: It was the most amazing day of golf I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never been there like that before.
And I just found out what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter how you get it in, you’ve just got to get it in and trust what you’ve worked on your whole life.
There’s no technical anything going on, it’s all make the ball go where you want it to go. It’s amazing.
The thing that’s most amazing is the man I’m going to play tomorrow has won 13 of these. It’s amazing how much it takes. I gave all of what I had today and I can’t complain.
I knew he’d make that putt.
Relive the play-off and the drama of sudden death on the next page…