Sundays with Tiger Woods

1 of 12 AP/Wideworld Photos
Tiger's Sunday with... If you think playing with defending PGA champion Tiger Woods in the final pairing of the final round of a major is an opportunity Tour players relish, well, it just ain't so. Costantino Rocca 1997 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club Started: Nine strokes behind Woods Finished: Tied for fifth after a 75 Woods' score: 69 Key stat: Woods averaged 323 yards off the tee; Rocca, 277. Says the affable Italian, "We were on a different road." Where it all went wrong: Rocca was never in contention, but he still thinks about his missed birdie putt at nine. Deflated, he bogeyed 17 and 18. Telling comment: "I like teaching and I have a great vision of the swing," Rocca says. "When I saw him swing like that, and when I saw him putt and chip so fantastic, I said to myself, 'If this guy keeps this going, the world is going to give him all the money!'"
2 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Jose Maria Olazabal 2005 British Open, Old Course at St. Andrews Started: Two behind Woods Finished: Tied for third after a 74 Woods' score: 70 Key stat: Woods had only one three-putt all week, on the 12th hole Friday, but he'd driven the green so he made par anyway. Where it all went wrong: Olazabal trailed by only two strokes after 11, but a bogey on 12 ended his chances. Telling comment: "It's hard but I don't think it's impossible," Olazabal said of catching Woods. "But it's close to impossible."
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Chris DiMarco 2005 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club Started: Three behind Woods Finished: Tied after a 68 Woods' score: 71 Key stat: Woods' opening drive edged DiMarco's — by 61 yards. Where it all went wrong: Woods' celebrated chip at 16 went in; DiMarco's chip on 18 stayed out. Telling comment: "(My) chip had absolutely no business not going in the hole," DiMarco said then. Today he adds: "Tiger does amazing things, and he's going to continue to do amazing things. You just have to hope that one of these days something good happens to you."
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Retief Goosen 2002 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club Started: Tied with Woods Finished: Second after a 74 Woods' score: 71 Key stat: Goosen bogeyed one,Woods birdied two and three, and no one got within three shots of Woods the rest of the day. Where it all went wrong: Goosen three-putted twice in the first five holes and failed to get up-and-down at the sixth. Telling comment: "I was getting myself on the wrong side of the green and couldn't two-putt," Goosen says.
5 of 12 AP Wideworld Photos
Mike Weir 1999 PGA, Medinah Country Club (No. 3) Started: Tied with Woods Finished: Tied for 10th after an 80 Woods' score: 72 Key stat: Weir started par, bogey, bogey, and shot 40 on the front nine. Where it all went wrong: Where didn't it? The day was such a disaster that Weir said he was "feeling kind of spacey" after nine holes. Telling comment: "It was nothing with the gallery, or Tiger, or anything," Weir said then. "It was all me." Weir's thoughts today: "I wasn't expecting that much security, that many people inside the ropes. And I didn't have anybody with me. It was frustrating getting to the tees; he'd walk ahead and it would take me two minutes to cut through all the people."
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Bob May 2000 PGA, Valhalla Golf Club Started: One behind Woods Finished: Tied with Woods after a 66; in a three-hole playoff, Woods went birdie-par-par to May's three pars. Woods' score: 67 Key stat: Woods was two behind with 12 holes to play but went 7-under the rest of the way to force extra holes. Where it all went wrong: Woods holed a slippery, left-to-right six-footer on the last hole of regulation to force a playoff. Telling comment: "That putt was very, very difficult," May says today, "but I never thought he was going to miss it."
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Luke Donald 2006 PGA, Medinah Country Club (No. 3) Started: Tied with Woods Finished: Tied for third after a 74 Woods' score: 68 Key stat: Woods improved his record to 12-for-12 when holding or sharing the third-round lead of a major. Where it all went wrong: Donald failed to convert medium-length putts on the first and third holes, and lipped out putts on four and five. Telling comment: "I felt like I played better than 74," Donald says, "but the putts didn't drop early on and I wasn't able to get any momentum. The difference was on the greens. He almost had the ability to will the ball into the hole, and I guess that comes from experience."
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Ernie Els 2000 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach Golf Links Started: 10 strokes behind Woods Finished: Tied for second after a 72 Woods' score: 67 Key stat: Woods hit 15 greens and took only 29 putts on Sunday, compared to Els' 12 and 31, respectively. Where it all went wrong: Well before Sunday. Even Ernie knew he had no chance. Telling comment: "It's got to be a dream," Els said. "He was in a different tournament than the rest of us."
9 of 12 John Biever/SI
Sergio Garcia 2002 U.S. Open, Black Course at Bethpage State Park Started: Four behind Woods Finished: Fourth after a 74 Woods' score: 72 Key stat: Woods hit 12 fairways and 15 greens on Sunday compared to Garcia's 9 and 13, respectively. Where it all went wrong: Sergio's ceaseless waggles + Unforgiving New York gallery = Relentless heckling. Telling comment: "I tried," Garcia said.
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David Duval 2000 British Open, Old Course at St. Andrews Started: Six behind Woods Finished: Tied for 11th after a 75 Woods' score: 69 Key stat: In each round, Woods avoided all 112 bunkers dotting the Old Course. Where it all went wrong: Already in the throes of back trouble, Duval needed four tries to escape the Road Hole bunker and made an eight. Telling comment: "We all know Tiger Woods is the best player in the game and that he's better prepared than everyone else," Duval said. "You can talk about it until you're blue in the face, but somebody's got to go out and do something about it."
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Phil Mickelson 2001 Masters, Augusta National Golf Club Started: One behind Woods Finished: Third after a 70 Woods' score: 68 Key stat: Longer off the tee, Woods hit eight more greens and four more fairways than Mickelson for the week to become the first player to hold all four major titles at once. Where it all went wrong: After pulling within a stroke with a birdie on 15, Mickelson yanked his 7-iron tee shot onto the wrong tier on 16 and three-putted. Telling comment: "The thing about Tiger is that he's the only leader that you don't have hope that he will falter," Mickelson said when Woods won the Masters again the following year.
12 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Sergio Garcia 2006 British Open, Royal Liverpool Golf Club Started: One behind Woods Finished: Tied for fifth after a 73 Woods' score: 67 Key stat: After firing a front-nine 29 on Saturday, Garcia played the same holes in 39 strokes on Sunday. Where it all went wrong: Garcia missed two short par putts in the first three holes. Telling comment: "I can't even count how many good putts I hit that didn't go in," Garcia said.