While Tiger Woods‘ superiority was without question, the rest of the field – commonly mocked throughout as the ‘B-Flight’ – were playing in their own tournament. Two-time US Open winner Ernie Els described the feeling as “different”, referring to the point that even though he was sharing the final pairing with Woods, there was simply no chance of overcoming the man that headed the field. “It didn’t feel like aUS Open,” said Els. “It felt very weird being so far behind – playing in the last group and having no chance of winning.” Miguel Angel Jimenez, who led an impressive tournament for the Europeans (Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington would all finish in the top ten), could only add: “Before we went out, I knew I had no chance.”

Rocco Mediate
“I had people asking me if anyone could catch him. Catch him? As long as he was upright today, he was going to win.”

Lewine Mair, Golf Monthly, August 2000
“Instead of thinking records, Tiger would set himself a simple goal, one of keeping a bogey off his card.

In the end, Woods’ four-under-par 67 meant he had played the last 26 holes of the world’s toughest tournament at par or better. Unlike so many others, he never three-putted during his wire-to-wire victory. During a week where the world’s best player had turned down a string of interview requests in pursuit of perfection, he was typically modest come Sunday evening when the dust began to settle on what he had achieved, although he did later joke: “All I had to do… was stay alive.””

“Records are great, but you don’t really pay attention to that. The only thing I know is that I have the trophy sitting right next to me. To perform the way I did, and on one of the greatest venues in golf, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Ernie Els
“I could have played out of my mind and still lost by six or seven. He’s near perfect.”

After the US Open, total domination loomed. Woods won the Open Championship at St Andrews a month later, recording four sub-par rounds (67, 66, 67 and 69). Next up was the
USPGA, where he retained his crown in a thrilling duel with the unknown Bob May. Come April 2001, victory at the Masters meant he held all four Majors at the same time. Job done!

Andy North, ESPN
“He’s the best driver of the ball; he’s the best iron player; he’s got a great short game; he’s the best athlete on the PGA Tour; he works the hardest; he has the best mind. Other than that, he’s average.”

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