Southern Hills Country Club Ended the Greatest Run of Tiger Woods’ Career
Tiger Woods will likely never reach Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. And that’s okay. But it can also be said that Jack Nicklaus never did what Tiger Woods did during that incredible 10-month streak from June 2000 to April 2001.
Of course, we’re talking about the legendary “Tiger Slam,” during which Woods held all four major championships at once, a feat that will likely never be accomplished again.
But do you know where Woods’ historic streak of major championship victories came to an end? That would be the 2001 U.S. Open at none other than the site of the 2022 PGA Championship, Southern Hills Country Club.
Tiger Woods had won four straight majors and five of his last six tournaments leading into the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills
Coming into the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, Woods was in the midst of the most dominating stretch of his illustrious career.
A year earlier, he’d decimated the field at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, winning by an incredible 15 strokes. One month later, he won The Open Championship by eight at St. Andrews. A month after that, he outlasted journeyman Bob May at the PGA Championship at Valhalla, winning in a playoff. Woods closed out the “Tiger Slam” with a two-shot win at the 2001 edition of The Masters.
That win at Augusta was also part of a three-start winning streak for Woods in 2001. Tiger actually failed to win any of his first six starts of ’01, although he still recorded four top-10s and never finished lower than 13th.
But in his next six starts leading into Southern Hills, Woods reeled off five victories. Following a second consecutive victory at Bay Hill, Tiger then won The Players Championship. That was the week of his famous “better than most” putt on the 17th. Then there was the win at The Masters.
After a five-week break, Woods returned to action and finished tied for third at the Byron Nelson. But he got back in the winner’s circle a week later at the Deutsche Bank TPC in Germany on the European Tour. And two weeks after that, he won the Memorial for a third straight year.
So, yeah, it’s safe to say Tiger was coming into Southern Hills on a hot streak.
Tiger finished 12th at the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills
Weather played a significant part in the early stages of the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, and it seemingly got to Tiger. Woods opened his quest for a fifth straight major championship with a 4-over round of 74, putting him eight shots back of Retief Goosen.
Tiger again shot over par in the second round, firing a 1-over 71, and made the weekend by just a single stroke at 5-over. At the end of the third round, only six players were under par, and only two more were even for the tournament. Woods was not one of them, although he did play better in Round 3, shooting a 1-under 69.
Woods entered Sunday’s final round nine shots back of co-leaders Goosen and Stewart Cink. While others went low, Tiger could never find that next level and fired a second consecutive 69 to finish at 3-over for the week in a tie for 12th, seven shots out of a playoff between Goosen and Mark Brooks, who each finished at 4-under. Goosen won the 18-hole playoff by two shots the following day.
Woods failed to truly compete in the final two majors of the 2001 season as well. He finished tied for 25th at The Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s and tied for 29th at the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Tiger got back on the major train with a win at The Masters in 2002. He then won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
And Woods did later win a major at Southern Hills with a two-shot victory at the 2007 PGA Championship, his 13th major championship.
Stats courtesy of PGATour.com