Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
If Tiger Woods were asked that question after the 2000 U.S. Open, his golf answers would have been straight-forward. He entered that tournament at Pebble Beach already with nine titles during that year alone — and proceeded to finish with an astonishing 15-stroke victory on one of the game’s most difficult courses.
Ask Tiger that same question today, and the picture is much more murky. Thanks to a personal life in shambles, Woods’ golf game has had its share of recent cracks, making Phil Mickelson the 8-to-1 co-favorite entering Thursday’s U.S. Open.
Back at practice on the same Pebble Beach course, Woods blamed his struggled on rust, counting on patience to propel himself back to a championship level.
“The more I play, the more I get my feel back,” Woods told the AP. “Where I was in the beginning of June is where a lot of the guys are in January and February — the amount of rounds they competed and played in. So I’m just starting to get my feel back. And I know I have to be patient. It’s coming along.”
Patient — or perfect? USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio looked back at Woods’ words after his phenomenal 21-birdie performance at the 2000 tournament.
“I didn’t do anything special that week,” Woods told USA Today. “Everything was on.”
Eat the humble pie, Tiger. What you did that week was special, especially in the context of a tournament that has spooked a long line of golfers throughout history. Only three players have recorded double-digit under-par outings at the U.S. Open. Two of those times were at Pebble Beach, and one of those players was Tiger.
Ten years later, Tiger’s personal struggles leave little chance of him replicating his Y2K feat. But don’t forget — the spotlight centered on Tiger’s escapades would have never been so bright without moments like Pebble Beach.