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Tiger Woods' 2000 US Open win was stunning, but Pebble Beach is always tough puzzle to solve

Tod Leonard, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Golf

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Blame the expectations on the U.S. Open in 2000.

The images of Tiger Woods carving up Pebble Beach Golf Links with freakish accuracy with his irons and otherworldly putting is the lasting impression of how dominant Woods can be while playing on the Monterey Peninsula.

In arguably his greatest triumph among 15 major wins, Woods seized that national championship by a record margin of 15 strokes and had his foes conceding he'd found a competitive gear none of them possessed.

In reality, Woods doesn't have the same cozy relationship with Pebble Beach he has at Torrey Pines, Firestone, Bay Hill or Augusta National.

On those four courses, Woods has a combined 29 victories.

Two wins at Pebble Beach are nothing to discount, but he clearly hasn't always looked totally comfortable on the short layout with tiny greens.

 

It's complicated.

The last time Woods made a tournament appearance on the Monterey Peninsula, his mediocre 3-over-par 75 on Sunday was put to shame by Phil Mickelson's surging 64 as they played together in the last group of the 2012 AT&T National Pro-Am.

Mickelson prevailed over Woods by nine shots in the tournament that is played on three courses, and the San Diegan won here again in February to tie Mark O'Meara for the most victories at Pebble with five.

Another 75 on Sunday -- after he fired 66 in the third round -- doomed Woods in the 2010 U.S. Open here. He tied for fourth and lost by three shots to Graeme McDowell.

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