It all came down to a couple of putts on the 18th as all major championships are supposed to. Both Lee Westwood and You-Know-Who needed to sink them to get into a playoff with Rocco Mediate, which starts at 9.00 a.m. local time tomorrow. Westwood left his a foot short, on line and went home feeling “disappointed but pleased” [with the way in the same breath. Tiger’s putt nearly lipped out, but it went in, in the right-hand side of the hole, and the legend goes on. We all come back tomorrow morning for an 18-hole playoff.
The second major of the year is the only one to have an 18-hole playoff. Given the fact that it will be on a Monday when everyone will be at work, and the fact that it is Tiger v a journeyman pro, the likelihood is it will be a bit of an anti-climax. That certainly cannot be said of the past four days.
“That putt was on the worst part of the green,” said Tiger, shortly after a mental, double-fisted celebration when his 12-footer dropped. “I knew it was going to bobble a lot. The line was two and a half balls outside the right edge and I just told myself to commit to the stroke.”
Rocco, watching on tv, said he just knew it was going to go in.
“That’s what this guy does,” he said. “He is quite unbelievable and that’s why I always want to play with him. Sure, I wish I had made another birdie but I can’t really believe I’m in this position anyway. I’m not sure what the odds will be tomorrow, but probably that I’ll win quite comfortably!”
As Rocco was being interviewed, Tiger appeared at the side-door.
“You’d better watch yourself tomorrow,” Rocco said to Tiger grinning.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun out there,” Tiger said after Rocco had left the interview area. “Rocco has been a friend of mine ever since I first came out on Tour. He is one of the nicest guys on Tour. I’ve never played a US Open playoff before so this is a new situation for me. I’d rather be going out now [to decide it] to be honest, but …”
Tiger will be hoping to get off to a better start tomorrow than he did today. For the third time this week, he managed to make a double bogey 6 at the fairly innocuous looking opening hole. He took five shots to find the putting surface and then sank what he ironically described as “a great two footer”.
You have to feel very sorry for the Englishman Westwood. He played incredibly well all week, especially from tee to green, but finally just fell short. His manager, Chubby Chandler, had donned a Tiger-red shirt for the occasion and told us that Darren Clarke had been texting Lee all week.
“If you had told me at the beginning of the week that I would have a putt on the final hole to get into a playoff, I would have taken it,” Lee said afterwards. “I was quite surprised because there were people shouting for me the whole way round. There were a few who were shouting odd comments but generally they were fantastic. I believe this week has proved to me and to a few other people that I can now win a major championship.”
T1 Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate 283 (-1)
3 Lee Westwood 284
T4 Robert Karlsson, D J Trahan 286
T6 Carl Pettersson, John Merrick, Miguel Jimenez 287
T9 Heath Slocum, Eric Axley, Brandt Snedeker, Camilo Villegas, Geoff Ogilvy 288
T14 Stuart Cink, Retief Goosen, Rod Pampling, Ernie Els 289
T18 Phil Mickelson, Chad Campbell, Ryuji Imada, Brandt Jobe, Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir, Robert Allenby, Hunter Mahan 290
T26 Adam Scott, Boo Weekley, Anthony Kim 291
T29 Bart Bryant, Miichael Thomason (a), Steve Stricker, Patrick Sheehan, Jeff Quinney, Scott Verplank, Aaron Baddeley 292
T36 Pat Perez, Daniel Chopra, Padraig Harrington, Jonathan Mills, Justin Leonard, Andres Romero, Todd Hamilton, Joe Ogilvie, Robert Dinwiddie, Stuart Appleby, Jim Furyk, Oliver Wilson 293
T48 Jarrod Lyle , John Rollins, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Tim Clark 294
T53 Ben Crane, soren Hansen, Kevin Streelman, Martin Kaymer, Davis Love III, 295
T58 Stephen Ames, Rory Sabbatini 296
T60 Nick Watney, Rickie Fowler (a), Alastair Forsyth, Brett Quigley, David Toms 297
T65 John Mallinger, Vijay Singh, Paul Casey, Trevor Immelman 298
T69 Derek Fathauer (a), D A Points 299
T71 Andrew Dresser, Andrew Svoboda, Woody Austin 300
T 74 Jesper Parnevik, Ian Leggatt, Justin Hicks 301
77 Ross McGowan 303
T78 Rich Beem, Chris Kirk 304
Luke Donald withdrew