Was this wild Memorial save Tiger Woods’ greatest par ever?

May 27, 2019

Tiger Woods has a career’s worth of wild highlights at the Memorial. Five wins. A three-peat. And a whole slew of memorable moments, often capped off with a congratulatory handshake behind the 18th green with tournament host Jack Nicklaus.

But to illustrate the sort of thing that made Tiger Woods well, Tiger Woods, one highlight in particular stands out. That moment came 20 years ago in the final round of the 1999 Memorial, as Woods clung to a one-shot final-round lead over playing partner Vijay Singh.

At No. 14, Woods airmailed a wedge long of the green, leaving a treacherous downhill chip from thick rough to a tucked pin. His first attempt at the delicate flop shot was more flop than shot, traveling less than 10 feet and staying in Muirfield’s tangly rough. Suddenly he was faced with a similarly difficult downhill chip, this time for par.

On the broadcast, Nicklaus pointed out that he was now going to have a tough time making bogey 5. Right on cue, Woods lofted another flop shot from the rough — and you’ll have to watch what happened from there.

Singh ended up making bogey, and instead of seizing the lead he saw his deficit grow to two shots, nearly insurmountable against Woods on a Sunday back nine.

“I thrive on the short game,” Woods said following his win. “Because it will demoralize most opponents. I could see what it was doing to Vijay. We’re good friends, but he started to get real quiet on the back nine.”

It begs the question — where does this rank among Woods’ greatest pars ever? Consider the situation: Lead in jeopardy. Double bogey in play. High degree of difficulty. Rival player threatening. To chip in from there, with all that going on? That’s a tough moment to top, even for Woods.

To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.