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The 100th U.S. Open was staged at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links, the site of several memorable moments in the championship’s history. But in terms of historic magnitude, none compares with the record-breaking performance of Tiger Woods in June 2000.
It was perhaps summed up best by broadcaster Roger Maltbie, who proclaimed, “It’s just not a fair fight,” after Woods powered a 7-iron from 205 yards out of thick rough – over a tree and Stillwater Cove, no less – onto the par-5 sixth green for a two-putt birdie in the second round.
It was a display of dominance unrivaled in more than 125 years of major championship golf. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Tiger’s awe-inspiring victory, here are a few numbers that illustrate just how impressive he was that week.
The thought of a 15-stroke margin of victory in the U.S. Open is preposterous, but incredibly enough, it happened in 2000. Tiger Woods finished at 12-under-par 272, the only player in the field to beat par for the week. Not only was the margin the largest in U.S. Open history, it remains the biggest in any men’s professional major, all-time. While Tiger was 12 under, the rest of the field at Pebble Beach was a combined 1,917 strokes over par.
Flip the previous number around and you get 51: the number of greens in regulation Tiger hit for the week at Pebble Beach. That wasn’t just the most in the field – it was seven more than any other player. While the field averaged 48.4 percent greens in regulation for the week, Tiger hit 70.8 – a margin of more than 22 percent.
Strokes gained: total measures the amount of shots a player beats the field average by in a round. Tiger gained 29.2 strokes against the field during the 2000 U.S. Open, the highest total in any single U.S. Open in the modern era. The real shock, however, comes in the historic separation Woods created: Tiger’s number is 3.91 strokes better than the second-best performance since World War II – the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 19 on the list.
One surefire way to win a golf tournament is to hit for a “triple crown” of sorts: leading the field in scoring across each individual hole type. Woods did just that at Pebble, playing the par 3s, par 4s and par 5s each in 4 under par for the week. That either led or tied for the field lead in all three categories.
Tiger’s ball-striking display was second-to-none that week. Literally. Woods led the field at Pebble Beach in both driving distance and greens in regulation – one of only two U.S. Open champions in the last 40 years to be first in both of those statistics. Dustin Johnson also accomplished the feat at Oakmont in 2016.
There were 437 rounds completed by the field that week at Pebble Beach. Only three were bogey-free. Two were by Tiger – his opening 65 and closing 67. The other belonged to Joe Daley, who after opening with 83, made two birdies and no bogeys to record a second-round 69.
RELATED VIDEO: Highlights From 2000 U.S. Open
Justin Ray is the head of content for 15th Club. He has also worked as a senior researcher at ESPN and Golf Channel.