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Watson needed a par so that he could go to the par-5 18th with a chance to force a playoff, or perhaps win with a birdie. His caddie, Bruce Edwards, urged him to get the chip close. Watson had other ideas. “To hell with getting it close,” he replied. “I’m going to make it.”

The shot came off perfectly, ran into the pin and dropped for a birdie. Watson needed only to par the 18th to win his first U.S. Open, and he made birdie to win by two.



Mark O’Meara and Paul Goydos played practice rounds with Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach in 2000, and both knew what was coming.

O’Meara told his wife that it didn’t matter how well he played because Woods was going to win, “and not only is he going to win, he’s going to blow away the field.” Goydos saw two reporters behind the 18th green on Tuesday and said the tournament ended that day. “He’s going to win by 10.”

He was wrong. Woods won by 15.

Not only was it a record margin in 140 years of major championships, it was as close to perfection as golf allows in a U.S. Open. Woods opened with a 65, the lowest score ever at Pebble in a U.S. Open. After two rounds, he stretched his lead to six shots, and to 10 shots after 54 holes. Both were U.S. Open records. As Goydos had predicted earlier in the week, Woods only needed to stay upright to win.

So dominant was his performance that he didn’t make a bogey over the final 26 holes. He finished on 12-under par _ the first player to finish at double figures under par in U.S. Open history. No one else finished under par that week, leading Thomas Bjorn to say years later, “It was literally perfection. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like it before, and I find it difficult to believe we’ll ever find anybody doing it again.”