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

Woods pointed out that although he wasn't perfect in hitting fairways in 2000, "I had the best angles."

The biggest difference in '00 came on the greens, where Woods said he didn't miss a putt inside 10 feet. That is extraordinary on poa annua surfaces that sprout tiny buds in the afternoon that can serve as hurdles to a rolling golf ball.

Woods has done a lot of work on the greens already this week with coach Matt Killen.

"It doesn't take much to get off line on poa," Woods said. "Bent (grass) sits down; poa perks up. And good putts look like they should go in and don't.

"The trick to putting on poa is to make sure they're always below the hole. If you're putting downhill, it's like a Plinko effect; you're going to go every which way."

Woods isn't nearly the formidable putter he was 19 years ago. In his limited sampling this season, he ranks 73rd in the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting.

To the considerable upside: He is No. 1 in greens hit in regulation.

If Woods keeps his ball in the fairway, Pebble could be nearly as friendly to him as 2000, when he won the AT&T and U.S. Open with a combined score of 24 under.


Two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els tied with Miguel Angel Jimenez as the rest-of-the-field "winners" of the '00 Open. They finished at 3 over. Els said he recently enjoyed watching a replay on Golf Channel.

The awe for Woods' play hasn't faded.

"He had a lot going for him," Els, 49, said. "His swing was unbelievable. He was hitting it a long way past most of us and in total control of every aspect of his game. I'm sure he had a good time."

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