The 2021 U.S. Open will be contested at Torrey Pines, marking the second time the San Diego public golf course has hosted America’s national golf championship. The first time was 13 years ago, in 2008, when Tiger Woods scored his 14th, and maybe greatest, major – not for records or numbers but for pure willpower.
Woods had not played since knee surgery following the Masters, and everyone could see things weren’t right as he made his way around the iconic track. Few people, though, knew the full extent of his woes – shredded ligaments in his left knee, a double stress fracture in his lower leg.
Translation: Woods literally was playing the United States Open on one good leg.
Still, rounds of 72-68 left Woods a shot off the lead heading into the weekend, while a third-day 70 gave him a one-shot advantage ahead of Sunday’s finale. But he lost the lead with an opening-hole double bogey, requiring a birdie at the par-5 18th to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate.
Faced with 18 more holes on Monday, Woods built a three-shot lead only to see Mediate rally back with three consecutive birdies after the turn. Needing another closing birdie to tie, Woods duplicated his feat from a day earlier.
The playoff started and ended at No.7, where Mediate found a fairway bunker and couldn’t save par.
As Tiger points out in the video below (from a post back in 2017), the famous putt only got him into a playoff – which was 18 holes the next day, plus one overtime hole.
“Not only did I play an 18 playoff with a busted leg but played the 19th too… That’s what people tend to forget… The (18-hole) playoff plus one more (19).”