Tiger Woods wins greatest U.S. Open ever, but Rocco Mediate made it so with playoff rally
LA JOLLA, Calif. (June 16, 2008) - When one of the most exhilarating, suprise-filled, dramatic events in the history of sports finally finished at Torrey Pines, Tiger Woods went on to call the 108th U.S. Open his “greatest major.”
Moments later, away from an 18th hole that turned into a mosh pit of fans during the trophy ceremony, but still a ways from his formal sit-down media center press conference, Woods amended that slightly - but still mostly stuck to it.
“Just all the things I went through, how close it is was, I have to think that this is my greatest one,” Woods said, standing near Torrey Pines’ scoring area. “It’s close with the first one I ever won. But I don’t know, this might even be a little better.”
This is certainly the greatest U.S. Open ever, arguably the greatest major ever, though there are definitely a few Nicklaus Masters that still might top it. But it only earns that status because of the guy Tiger Woods beat in the 18-hole playoff, the battler who just wouldn’t quit.
In many ways, Rocco Mediate made this unbelievable Open by rallying from three shots down with only eight holes to play in the playoff. And Mediate didn’t just tie it, he went a stroke up, forced Tiger to do something special to beat him.
Without Rocco, this U.S. Open is not the greatest. Even with Woods’ back-nine blitz on Friday, his three unbelievable shots for the ages on Saturday and his clutch 13-foot playoff-forcing birdie putt on a Sunday in which he couldn’t hit any putts until he absolutely had to have that last one. Even with the knee (and if you thought the Tiger on one knee stories were overblown before today, wait until you read what the fawning golf press comes out with tomorrow).
In a way, Tiger Woods owes Rocco Mediate too. Because without Rocco, the legend of this Open isn’t nearly so large.
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