Tiger Woods wins The Memorial
On this day, In 2000 … Starting the day with a six-stroke lead at the Memorial Tournament, Tiger Woods eased to a five-stroke victory over Els and Justin Leonard in an event that ended one day late because of rain.
The victory was worth $558,000 for Woods, and the wait was worth it. Finishing at 269 (71-63-65-70), 19 under par, Woods bogeyed the final hole to fall one stroke short of the tournament record, 268, set by Tom Lehman in 1994.
Fact: Woods was the first person in the events 24 year history to defend his title. In typical Tiger fashion he won the next year also becoming the only man to win The Memorial three times consecutively. In all he has five wins at Muirfield Village. (1999, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2012)
Woods was presented the winner’s trophy by Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host, who won 18 professional major championships, the record Woods covets most. After watching Woods overwhelm the Muirfield Village Golf Club course that Nicklaus designed, while averaging 298.9 yards in driving distance, Nicklaus was asked to compare his game in his prime to Woods’s.
”If I was hitting the ball the way I wanted to, I always felt like everybody else was going to play for second,” said Nicklaus, who at age 60 tied for 65th place after a final-round 73. ”I think he feels the same way. Nobody in golf today can stand there with a driver and say, ‘I’m going to hit the ball 295 yards and shape it the way I want to shape it and put it on that side of the fairway.’ He is the only guy that can do that.
”I think he manages his game well. I managed my game well. I think he can play right-to-left or left-to-right. He probably plays better right-to-left than I did. He’s got a far better short game than I ever had. His short game is phenomenal. He’s got every shot around the green. He’s a terrific putter, but I think I was a good putter, too.”
Woods ended any chance for suspense early, with birdies on Nos. 3, 6 and 8 to reach 20 under par. Terrific approach shots set up each birdie. At No. 3, he hit a pitching wedge shot to 6 feet from the hole. At No. 6, he hit a 9-iron to 4 feet. At No. 8, he hit a 9-iron to 6 feet.