EVENT: PGA Championship, Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville
DATE: Aug. 20
"I know Tiger can do some things physically that I can't. I
vowed from the start of the final round to play my own game, to
be strong mentally. On the 1st tee, he hit it 50 yards past me.
I looked at my caddie and laughed.
"Walking off the greens and tees, the volume of noise from the
gallery was unbelievable. Coming off the 4th tee, I said to
Tiger, 'Is it always like this for you?' He flashed that big
smile of his and said, 'Every week.' We talked quite a bit the
first eight holes, but then the conversation sort of dried up.
The intensity of the match was building.
"We were tied coming to 18, the par-5. Mentally, I was prepared
for him to make every shot and to get every break. He hit his
drive very far left. That's the one that went bouncing along the
cart path, but we couldn't see that from the tee. Because it was
so off-line, I figured it was in a bad spot, probably stuck
behind a bush or something, but I didn't allow myself to believe
that. When we walked out there and saw his lie was perfect, I
wasn't disappointed at all.
"I've received letters from people saying that they were there
and that some kid threw Tiger's ball into an opening. I don't
think anything happened, but the fact is, we'll never know. Even
if something did happen, it wasn't as if Tiger arranged it.
"On the 18th green I had one of my biggest disappointments and
one of my proudest moments. I had a long putt for eagle, but I
hit it right through the break. I left myself with a 15-footer
for birdie from just off the green. Even though I was
disappointed with that eagle putt, I was feeling strong mentally.
So I said to myself, You can still win the tournament, but it's
not going to be here. First thing, make your putt. Tiger had
eight feet for birdie. After I made mine, I knew he'd make his.
It seems like he always does what he needs to do on the last hole
of a tournament.
"So now we're going into a playoff, and I'm thinking, We're going
back to 18, and that's good because a par-5 is supposed to favor
Tiger, and there'll be more pressure on him. But when we were in
the scorer's trailer, a guy from the PGA says to me, 'We'll be
heading out to 16.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'It's a three-hole
playoff. It's the aggregate score on 16, 17 and 18.'
"I wasn't prepared for that. The last time there had been a
playoff in the PGA, it was sudden death. Hearing that it was
three holes threw me off. I might have sagged, mentally and
physically, when I heard that. It had been a long battle, and
even though I was having the time of my life, I was feeling the
"I went par, par, par. Tiger went birdie, par, par. I think that
he was drained, too. He just held on a little bit better than I
did. That was the difference."
B/W PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN LANKER
The number of one-putt greens Woods had over the final 15 holes
of the PGA, including the three holes of the playoff against May.