Tiger Woods won the Mercedes in incredible fashion for his third win
On January 12, 1997 Tiger Woods captured the third win of his career. This was Tigers third win in nine total starts on the PGA Tour. The 1997 Mercedes Championship was plagued with ugly wet weather that shortened the even to 54 holes. They attempted the play the final round as half of the field was not he course when they decided to halt play. The PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and Tournament directors agreed upon a sudden death playoff between the two players tied at the top of the leaderboard.
After 54 holes Tom Lehman and Tiger Woods were tied both at -14 under which gave them entry into the playoff. It was a disappointing way to end the first tournament of the year but the playoff didn’t fail to give the tournament a flashy finish. It was quite fitting that the 1996 Player of the Year (Lehman) & Rookie of the Year (Woods) would duke it out.
The Playoff: Lehman vs. Woods
The stage was set… Woods and Lehman were in for a sudden death playoff. Every hole at The La Costa Golf Course was drenched from previous rain which posed a problem for the playoff. After much consideration the only playable hole was the par 3 7th hole which measured around 185 yards with the back left pin. Lehman went first as the rain was coming down slightly. In a moment of disbelief, Lehman sailed his attempt into the water letting the pressure off Woods. Tiger needing only a three to win stepped up and focused over the ball. Before long he whalloped it toward the pin to eight inches. Thats right, eight inches…The rest was history; Lehman could only watch as Tiger tapped in to win his third tournament of his young career.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.