A Decade Of Memories In The Majors.

The 00’s have officially passed us by and with it goes one of the most memorable decades in major championship golf history. The dominance of Tiger Woods was a hallmark of the past ten years and while the great man did produce some of the most impressive golf in major history there were other players on the major stage that who shone brightly as well. That being said, here are my top ten major memories from the last ten years.

1. Tiger Woods – 2000 U.S Open at Pebble Beach– It was by far the most dominating performance in the history of professional golf- there is not even a second place. Only one player in history had ever reached double-digits under-par in the U.S Open before (Gil Morgan ten years earlier at Pebble Beach), and Woods not only reached that number- he stayed there. When he eventually finished his domination for the field he had finished at -12 for the tournament and won by and astonishing 15 shots, relegating runners-up Ernie Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez to merely a trivia question in golf history. Such ruthless dominance may never be seen again.

2. Y.E Yang – 2009 U.S PGA Championship at Hazeltine National– While the decade was defined by the dominance of one man with a part-Asian heritage, the last major of the decade would see the first Asian, a South Korean, ever take down that same champion in dramatic fashion. It may take years to really see the impact of Y.E Yang’s victory at Hazeltine, but when we look back at the landscape of golf over the next ten years, this victory may be the one that changed everything.

3. Phil Mickelson – 2004 Masters– It took a while. Actually, it seemed like it took half a lifetime. Phil Mickelson’s first major win was followed by a collective sigh of relief from the golfing world and finally made a major champion out of “Lefty“. For Mickelson, it was akin to getting not just a monkey, not even a gorilla, but King Kong off his back.

4. Tiger Woods – 2001 Masters– It had never been done before and it may never be done again. It was not achieved by Hogan, or Snead, or Nelson. Not by Palmer or, Watson, or Player. Not even by Nicklaus. By winning the 2001 Masters Woods became the first man to hold all four major championships at once and stamped his place among the greats of all time.

5. Geoff Ogilvy – 2006 U.S Open at Winged Foot GC– Despite Ogilvy chipping-in on the 71st hole, the 2006 U.S Open will always be remembered for “the massacre” that followed. First, Padraig Harrington topped his approach into the 72nd hole, dropping himself from contention.  Then Colin Montgomery made double-bogey from the middle of the fairway and Jim Furyk missed from five-feet, both on the 72nd hole. Finally, Phil Mickelson puts the icing on the cyanide-cake by hitting the wildest drive ever hit on the final hole of the U.S Open, ultimately taking double bogey. Ogilvy, it turned out, was the last man standing.

6. Padraig Harrington – 2008 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale-  The next two majors make my list not because of the winner, but because who almost won. Ten years since he last made a serious run at a major Greg Norman almost became the oldest part-time golfer to ever win a major.  Ultimately he was trumped by the spectacular eagle Harrington made on 71st hole, one of the greatest clutch shots of the decade and the only reason I have placed this tournament ahead of the next one.

7. Stewart Cink – 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry– Like the previous entry, this Open Championship may have been the story of the decade if it had turned out a little different. Sexagenarian Tom Watson captured our hearts for four straight days at Turnberry, but eventually he ran out of steam, or mojo, or pars- which ever way you want to look at it, and succumbed to Stewart Cink in a playoff. With 99.9% of golf fans pulling against him Cink went ahead and accepted the Claret Jug, and his gracious response to the victory and to Watson himself should not be understated- a more deserving major champion may not exist.

8. Shaun Micheel -  2003 PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC– Micheel’s win was the second consecutive come-from-nowhere victory in the majors following Ben Curtis at the 2003 Open Championship. Micheel’s win trumps Curtis and makes the list because of the dramatic way in which he won. Clinging to a one-shot lead and with the entire golfing world watching Micheel drew a 7-iron and hit the ball so close to the hole a beginner could have made the putt for birdie and not sweated it. It was simply jaw-dropping.

9. Tiger Woods – 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla GC– There were some great duels down the stretch over the past decade but none can match the one where a journeyman pro took on the greatest player of recent times- and almost won. Over the stretch of six hours that Sunday Bob May gave Tiger Woods all he could handle. That Woods came out on top was not a surprise- that May never once blinked was.

10.  Padaig Harrington – 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie GL– It was supposed to be Sergio Garcia’s Open Championship. He led after all three rounds and looked to have the tournament locked up before he was caught by Steve Stricker, then by Andres Romero, and finally by Harrington. All four players tried valiantly to lose the tournament and at one stage it looked like nobody wanted to take the Claret Jug home with them. Despite two trips to the burn on the 18th hole Harrington prevailed in a playoff and somewhere the ghost of Jean Van de Velde smiled just a little bit.

5 Responses to “A Decade Of Memories In The Majors.”

  1. Nick Swan says:

    Some amazing memories there. Makes me think I should renew my Sky TV subscription for this year! I cancelled it last year but am now starting to regret it that the PGA tour is starting up again this week!

  2. Ron Fairlie says:

    Thanks Andy for these clips which some I have’t seen. The 2009 Turnberry brought tears to my eyes. I was routing for that young guy that came second.



  3. George says:

    Nice article Nick…

  4. Frank says:

    Andy,There are many of us golfers that are so disappointed in the situation that Tiger Woods put himself into! It’s hard to believe that a person that had so much going for him would be so flagrant and uncaring about his family (not to mention his fans) and have so many transgressions that it makes one wonder if that much success is worth it.
    He obtained the envy of nearly everyone that has ever played golf with his great ability! Now it appears that the success and millions of dollars that he obtained creates the attitude that you are invincible. He will NEVER be the same in anyone’s eyes! I hope his “Gallery” is empty!

  5. Robert says:

    Many thanks for videos enjoyed again and again

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