Tiger Woods' 10 Greatest PGA Championship Moments
Tiger Woods posing with the Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills Country Club in 2007.PGA of America
Tiger Woods has a storied history at the PGA Championship. The four-time champion won back-to-back Wanamaker trophies in 1999/2000 and again in 2006/2007. Even in the years that he wasn't on top of the leaderboard, he has created unforgettable moments.
Tiger has offered everything and more when he's in the field including unbelievable shots, devastating misses, walks with legends, plenty of fist pumps and displays of the best golf in the world.
Here's a look at 10 of those moments as told by PGA.com writer Jeff Babineau:
10. Tiger and Jack Nicklaus at Valhalla, 2000
In his fourth PGA Championship, played in 2000 at Valhalla, Tiger Woods is paired with the great Jack Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors. Walking down the final hole of the second round on Friday, Woods urges the 60-year-old Nicklaus to finish things off right. Jack does, knocking his third shot in tight for a gimme birdie and round of 71. Woods finishes strong, too, shooting 67 to take the 36-hole lead. He’d go on to win the tournament.
9. Hazeltine Barrage, 2002
Woods finished second in each of the PGA Championships that he played at Hazeltine National outside Minneapolis. Still, when he was runner-up to surprise winner Rich Beem in 2002, he finished with some amazing flair.
It was vintage Tiger bravado as he stepped to the 15th tee trailing by five shots and told caddie Steve Williams that if he birdied the last four holes, he’d win. Woods did his part; Beem held on to beat him by a shot. On the par-5 15th on Sunday, Woods recovered from a poor tee shot and made an 8-footer for birdie; on 16, he hit an 8-iron approach to 10 feet; at 17, 7-iron to 10 feet, another make. And on the 18th he belted a 7-iron straight up into the sky to a back-left hole location, the ball coming straight down, as if dropped by a helicopter, 4 feet from the flagstick.
It was an amazing Sunday show, and Woods left with his first career runner-up finish in a major.
8. The Bellerive Comeback, 2018
Tiger's recent performances in the PGA Championship were lacking heading into the 2018 Championship. He missed the cut in 2014 and 2015, and had sat out 2016 and 2017 with injuries. He hadn’t finished in the Top 10 since coming in as runner-up in 2009.
The 2018 edition didn’t start out much better, as Tiger went bogey-double in his first two holes Thursday. But over the next 70 holes, he outplayed every other golfer in the field. The real highlights came Sunday, when Tiger shot the best final round of his major career with a 64 to finish 14-under. It was overtaken by Brooks Koepka’s 16-under score to win, but not overshadowed.
Tiger was back.
"At the beginning of the year, if you would say I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I, with what swing?" Tiger said after the round. "I didn't have a swing at the time. I had no speed. I didn't have a golf swing. I didn't have — my short game wasn't quite there yet. My putting was okay. But God, I hadn't played in two years. So it's been a hell of a process for sure."
7. The Title at Southern Hills, 2007
Tiger Woods’ fourth PGA Championship triumph, at Southern Hills in 2007, pulled him to within one of Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus for most PGA titles in history. It also was Woods’ 13th major championship (he’d get No. 14 a year later at the U.S. Open), which tied him with Bobby Jones. And history, obviously, means something to Woods.
“Any time you’re in conversations with Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen … it makes you understand that you’re had a nice run in your career,” said Woods, who was 31 at the time. “I could not ask for a better start to my career. If you would ask me that 12 years into my career I would have had this many wins and this many majors, there’s no way. I’ve exceeded my own expectations.”
6. Medinah Magic: Part Deux, 2006
In 2006 Woods returned to the PGA Championship at Medinah No. 3 having not won a PGA since 2000.
He began the final round tied with Luke Donald, and four others were within four shots of the lead. Woods pulled away like a speedboat, shooting 68 and winning by five. He chalked up this victory largely because of an impeccable short game. Not only did Woods pour in putts from all over, but he added great par saves on Sunday from bunkers at the 13th and 14th holes, the latter when he splashed an 8-iron that released and settled close to the hole. The putter was blazing hot.
“I had one of those special days on the greens,” Woods said, “where if I didn’t hit the ball on the fairway, I can lay it up and put the ball anywhere on the green and I feel like I could make it.” Yes, one of those days.
5. The 63 at Southern Hills, 2007
At Southern Hills in Tulsa at the 2007 PGA, Tiger Woods shot the 23rd round of 63 in major championship history, but anyone who witnessed his final putt walked away convinced it should have been 62. Woods leaned over his putter in disbelief when his 15-footer for birdie on his final hole of Round 2 started to vanish into the cup, spun 270 degrees, and somehow stayed out. A “62 and a 1/2,” Woods would call it.
Woods said he was “mad” when the putt didn’t drop, but he still took a two-shot lead into the weekend. At the time, he was 7-0 at majors when leading into the weekend.
“He does pretty good when he leads for two rounds and even better when he leads for three rounds,” competitor Geoff Ogilvy said. “So I guess that is kind of ominous. But at some point, he’s not going to win.” Ogilvy, eventually, would be right; it just didn’t happen this time. Woods beat Woody Austin by two.
4. Double Domination, 2007 and 2009
Woods missed the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills having undergone knee surgery on the heels of his 2008 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines (Woods’ 14th major). But what he did in the two PGAs sandwiching ’08 was nothing short of remarkable.
Woods’ name was on top of the PGA leaderboard for six consecutive rounds that he played – the final three rounds of 2007 (Southern Hills), and the first three rounds of 2009 (Hazeltine). Add in Woods being the leader after the third and fourth rounds of 2006 (Medinah), and he was atop the PGA leaderboard in eight of nine rounds in which he competed.
3. Medinah Magic: Part 1, 1999
In 1999, being chased by a 19-year-old, little-known Spaniard named Sergio Garcia, Woods watched his five-shot back-nine lead evaporate to to a single shot. He missed the green left at the 206-yard 17th hole, and he did well to get his pitch to 8 feet. Then came the putt of the tournament for Woods, who sneaked his par putt inside the left edge to hold onto his lead. A par at the last gave him the first of his four PGA titles.
This writer played that 17th hole in a media outing the next morning, and only then realized the greatness of the Woods’ putt. The green at 17 was so stressed by heat that it basically was packed-down dirt that had been spray-painted green for television. And Woods never blinked, knocking down the putt and capturing Major No. 2.
2. The Best Shot Tiger Woods Ever Hit, 2002
Tiger Woods had to return to the course early Saturday morning in 2002 at Hazeltine to complete a second round that had been suspended. He hit a drive on Hazeltine’s par-4 18th hole that finished not far from the front lip and close to the left edge of the bunker. He barely could get inside the bunker to take his stance.
From there, with his heels up against the edge of the bunker, he ripped a 3-iron that rose up over trees along the left side, drew against a 20-25 mph breeze and somehow finished 20 feet from the flagstick. He made the putt for birdie.
Woods has called it “the greatest feeling shot I’ve ever hit in my life,” and when Woods declares it his No. 1, that’s saying something. Ernie Els, that year’s British Open champion who was playing alongside Woods, shakes his head at the memory of that shot. “At 7:30 in the morning, to hit that kind of a shot … crazy.”
1. The Sunday Duel with Bob May at Valhalla, 2000
One of the most famous moments of Woods career came on the first hole of a three-hole playoff against fellow Californian Bob May in the 2000 PGA Championship. After he and May tied at 18-under 280 – outdistancing their next closest opponent by five shots – they went to the par-4 16th to start the three-hole playoff.
May hit an errant drive, laid up short with his second shot, then hit a marvelous chip inside a foot to save par. Woods? He had a 20-foot right-to-left curler. As his ball got nearer to the hole, Woods took off after it, his right index finger pointing at the hole as it tumbled in for birdie. It would be the difference in the aggregate playoff. An even bigger putt? The 6-footer Woods had to knock down to finish off his back-nine 31 and join May in the playoff.
Woods called it one of his greatest duels ever. Neither player made a mistake. Those who witnessed it never will forget it.