On This Date in Sports August 20, 2000: Tiger Walks it Home

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Tiger Woods continues his dominance, winning PGA Championship by beating Bob May in a playoff at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. Tiger shot a 270, finishing at -18, holding at least a share of the lead at the end of each round. Tiger Woods won the playoff by one stroke with a birdie on the first hole of the three-hole playoff. It was Tiger’s second straight PGA title and his third straight win in a major.

 It was the era of Tiger Woods. The golfer who was born to play golf had risen to the top player in the world, with no peer. Eldrick “Tiger” Woods was born on December 30, 1975, in Cypress, California. He first appeared on television at the age of two on the Mike Douglas Show, already showing fantastic golf skills. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 1991.  A few years later, he became the first golfer to win the U.S. Amateur Championship three straight years, 1994, 1995, and 1996.

After turning professional, Tiger Woods quickly found success winning two tournaments, including the Las Vegas Invitational just weeks after the U.S. Amateur Championship. Tiger Woods won the 1996 PGA Rookie of the Year and was primed to take over the world. In 1997, Tiger Woods dominated the Masters Tournament for his first major championship. Two years later, he added the PGA Championship in an unforgettable showdown with Sergio Garcia.

At the 2000 Masters, Tiger Woods finished fifth, with Vijay Singh winning the tournament. The next four majors would see Tiger Woods go on a historic run, winning each tournament to complete the career grand slam and what would become known as the Tiger Slam. Tiger Woods won his first U.S. Open in 2000 by 15 strokes at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York. He completed the career grand slam at the age of 24 with an eight-stroke victory in The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in England.

Coming into the 2000 PGA at Valhalla, Tiger Woods was by far the number one player in the world and had lifted golf’s popularity to new heights. Most expected Tiger Woods to defend the Wanamaker Trophy.  In the first round, Tiger Woods did not disappoint shooting a six-under-par 66 and was tied with Scott Dunlap for the lead with Darren Clarke and Davis Love III both two strokes back at -4.

 Tiger Woods again was at the top of his game with a 67 in the second round. Through 36 holes, Tiger Woods had a one-stroke lead over Scott Dunlap at -11. Bob May an unknown quietly shot at 66 and was in contention at six-under-par. May had never previously finished in the top ten of major and had never won a PGA event. May equaled his 66 on Saturday and sat one stroke behind, Tiger Woods at -12 in a tie with Scott Dunlap. Both Woods and Dunlap shot a 70 in the third round.

 Tiger Woods and Bob May were in the final pairing on Sunday. The rest of the field disappeared into the dust. Scott Dunlap, who competed for the first three rounds, had a final round 75 and finished tied for ninth at -9. Meanwhile, May and Tiger pulled away, as Tomas Bjorn finished third with a -13, five strokes off the lead. Surprisingly, Bob May matched Tiger Woods shot for shot and did not fade, shooting a 66 for the third straight round to finish at -18. May had a one-stroke lead on the 15th green and missed a birdie putt, while Tiger Woods made a chip and saved par. On the 17th, Tiger Woods made a birdie to move into a tie with May. Each golfer made pressure-packed par puts on the 18th and finished 72 holes tied at -18.  

A three-hole playoff would determine the 2000 PGA Championship. Tiger Woods made a birdie, walking the ball to the hole on the 16th hole, the first of the three-hole playoffs. Tiger finished with two pars. Bob May would not go away, as recorded three pars in the playoffs but finished one-stroke back.

Tiger Woods would go onto complete the Tiger Slam with a victory in the 2001 Masters Tournament, part of 15 career majors. Bob May never won a PGA event and the 2000 PGA was his only top ten finish.