US Open Championship Blog - Sunday


6.00pm Oh my god!!! I've never seen anything like it! More details to follow but I've just witnessed the biggest crunch putt under pressure I've ever seen and am probably ever likely to see. Tiger Woods, struggling with his knee, his game, his mental strength and needing a birdie at the 18th to get into a play-off with Rocco Mediate zoned in when it really, really mattered and canned a 15 foot putt to cause pandemonium at Torrey Pines. The stern, frustrated face for much of the round dissolved into a smile as wide as a Californian Freeway as he yet again, against the odds, pulled something truly special out when it HAD to be done. Absolutely incredible! And even better, your intrepid TG reporter was right there in the thick of it and pressing record on my secret camcorder. You'll get to see the on the ground reaction from beside the 18th green and watch Tiger, his caddie and the whole crowd go nuts! It will be a bit wobbly but who gives a s%#t! I'm racing to the interview room to listen to Tiger's reaction and understand just what makes this man tick and how he willed that ball into the hole. The US Open dream is still alive and despite Tiger's knee and his less than stellar game, Rocco Mediate will still go into Monday's 18 hole play-off as a massive underdog. What a day.

12.00pm I'm heading out to watch Sergio warm-up now and follow him for the first few holes before doubling back for the full 18 with Tiger and Lee. I will stick my earplugs in, kneel down as low as I can and soak up the finale to this wonderful week. Tiger is a staggering 13 for 13 when leading going into the final round. That is a daunting prospect for our man from Worksop, but records are there to be shot at and he'll be desperate to be the one that pulls it off. He really believes it too, this guy is a winner. He's had 29 victories worldwide, is a Ryder Cup stalwart and prides himself on his bottle in a battle. He told us "It would be nice for people to say, 'Oh yeah, he was good. Whenever he had a chance to win, he generally won. He had the balls for it." But, I've watched Tiger cruise to victory at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005 and once comfortably ahead, its become strangely processional. I just hope it doesn't happen today, but let's face it, it is on the cards. It's what the majority of the American media are expecting and its what I also feel, but its not what I want. England needs this one, we've been waiting for 12 long years. Come on Lee!!

11.30am So can anyone challenge Tiger today? Of course they can. Lee Westwood continued his rock solid golf with another 70 to lie two under and just one behind. He now tees it up with Tiger in the last group of a major for the very first time in his career. He may be talking it down, saying he has no expectations and is quite relaxed. Don't believe it for a second. This is without doubt the biggest day of his golfing life and is just reward for a rededication to his career which has seen him vastly improve his fitness, his swing and his short game following a disasterous slump a few years back. His swing looks fantastic and his consistent power and length is often under estimated. Don't expect him to be to far behind Tiger later today. I feel that the key for Lee today is on the greens and if he's on song he has a chance, a big chance. I made a slightly alcohol-induced bet last night that Lee would come out on top by one shot. Most of the opposition were saying Tiger by three, four, five etc. Wishful thinking maybe but it would be an awesome thing for Lee, for the European Tour and also provide more badly needed belief and desire to the next generation of British players. He's never been in this position before, will have to cope with incredibly loud and biased galleries and probably the biggest media circus ever seen but he's swinging so well I just have a funny feeling... It all boils down to a couple of things: not making big mistakes and having a good putting day.

Outside the final group, I can only see one my tips Geoff Ogilvy having the game to challenge the last group. I'd love my fave Sergio to get off to a flier playing with his TaylorMade buddy Mike Weir, but a six shot start to Tiger is surely way too much to make up. Conditions are good today but the greens could get a little firmer and its bound to be tough out there.. Will Lee step up to the plate or will the pressure be too much? Can Tiger stay pain free and can he keep producing these miracles!

10.00am In case you didn't see it or read about it (is that really possible?) let me give you a quick taste of Tiger's round yesterday. I watched him on the front nine and it was a real struggle. From another nervous drive and double bogey on the 1st followed by some hard working pars, it didn't look like it was going to be his day and one of those occasional majors where he doesn't quite have it and falls short. Not to be. Despite spraying it around and clearly in serious discomfort from his dicky left knee, he found a way to create some true magic on the course and leave tens of thousands of fans giddy and breathless. As I wrote in the last of my blogs yesterday, it all really started on the long par five 13th. After a wild drive he got a generous free drop, nailed his 5-iron approach right to the back of the green and rolled in a once in a lifetime 70 foot downhill right-to-left putt for eagle. This was sandwiched between a pair of bogeys but he was back to level par and just a handful of shots off Rocco Mediate's uncertain lead.

On the 15th tee he drove off and almost collapsed with pain after impact. For a minute it looked like he could hardly walk never mind keep on swinging it at 128mph. It was pure drama and keeping millions of viewers glued to their sets in primetime. At that point with just four holes left, Tiger was simply trying to hang on and get his ailing knee back into the clubhouse without doing any more damage to his knee or his scorecard. The golfing gods had other ideas. On the 17th he hit another wild and painful drive, push-slicing it into the rough where a young girl picked it up by mistake! After a drop he dumped it into the front bunker and another dropped shot looked likely. Instead, he blasted the ball out and one-hop slam-dunked it at pace into the hole! It was a crazy, crazy birdie that sent everybody wild and I've never seen Tiger smile and laugh so much in the 12 years I've been watching him. Back under par when he had no right to be, he then played two majestic shots into the par five 18th and had another unlkely look at a long eagle putt. You guessed it, he rolled in the slopy 40 footer to leapfrog the leaders and end up leading the 108th US Open at -3 par after a thrilling, jaw-dropping rollercoaster round of 70.

What made it more remarkable is the fact Tiger hit only two of eight fairways on the back nine and just three of nine greens, yet still shot a 33 with two eagles in six holes. That's not supposed to happen in a US Open yet it did and the countless highlights all night and this morning still don't seem quite real. At times like this, Tiger's ability to make special things happen seems rather otherworldly and you just have to sit back, shake your head in amazement and smile. This is special stuff and and if he does succeed, it could rank as one of the bravest and determined major victories in history.

9.00am Yesterday was a day for the ages and one a lot of people will remember for a long, long time. I'm soaking up the morning news here and getting a feel for the impact Tiger's phenomenal golf has made. I only wish the time difference wasn't so huge and many more European golf fans could have been up to watch and witness it. Unfortunately, they moved the start times back for primetime TV and so Tiger didn't even tee it up until 11pm UK! For the lucky few who stayed up until the wee hours, you know you were treated to something truly special. We see great golf all over the world on a weekly basis. But the things this guy can make happen! In a major, a tough US Open even! In just nine holes! In pain!