Tiger Woods won the US Open after 19 holes of a play-off against Rocco Mediate at the Torrey Pines course in southern California on this day in 2008.
Woods simply refused to be beaten as he chased the 14th major win of his career in a battle with fellow American Mediate which went to a 91st hole.
It would have ended at the 72nd had he not sunk a 15-foot putt to cancel out Mediate’s one-stroke lead and secure a play-off, but the drama was far from over.
Expect anything different?! Where were you when @TigerWoods forced a playoff with @RoccoMediate at @GolfTorrey?— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 13, 2021
13 years later, it remains one of the most iconic moments in #USOpen history. pic.twitter.com/ZaYo7trrwZ
The then world number one, playing his first tournament since undergoing knee surgery, had to battle both pain and a series of slow starts to keep himself in contention throughout the tournament, and his task became little easier after his fourth-day heroics on the 18th green.
Qualifier Mediate, who was bidding to become the US Open’s oldest winner at 45 years and five months, found himself three down with eight holes to play, but once again stood on the 18th tee with a single-stroke advantage.
But on the day he celebrated 500 weeks as number one, Woods produced when he needed to most, capitalising on his opponent’s failure to birdie the par five by doing just that to extend their marathon duel into sudden death.
I think this is the best, just because of all the things I had to deal withTiger Woods
Mediate’s bogey at the first extra hole opened the door and Woods, whose participation in San Diego had remained in question until the last minute, made no mistake to move within four of Jack Nicklaus’ record total of 18 major wins, in the process taking his on-course earnings through the 100million US Dollars mark.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “I don’t know how it even got this far, but I’m very, very fortunate to have played 91 holes and come out on top.
“I think this is the best, just because of all the things I had to deal with.”
The intervening years have proved eventful on and off the course for Woods, who is currently recovering from serious injuries suffered in a car accident, and he has added just one more major – the 2019 Masters – to his tally since.