Tiger Woods‘ four consecutive major championship victories, better known as the “Tiger Slam” is undoubtedly the single greatest year in golf history. With all due respect to Bobby Jones’ Grand Slam run in 1930, it pales in comparison to what Tiger accomplished in the 10-month stretch from June 2000 to April 2001.
Never before had anyone held the U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship, and Masters titles simultaneously until Tiger Woods finished off the “Tiger Slam” at Augusta in 2001 and it’s highly unlikely that it will ever happen again. It’s been nearly 20 years since Woods began his unprecedented run, beginning at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and some of the stats are simply mind-blowing.
- In the 16 rounds of the “Tiger Slam,”, Woods combined to shoot 65-under. The second-best total during that stretch was 20-under, shot by both Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Woods shot 19-under at The Open Championship in 2000 alone.
- In every round of all four tournaments, Woods either led or co-led the field in both greens-in-regulations percentage and driving distance.
- During the 16 rounds of the “Tiger Slam,” Tiger made just 23 bogeys. Of those that made the cut in all four tournaments, the second-lowest total belonged to Justin Leonard, who made 41. Woods also made 91 birdies, close to six per round. Bob May was second with 69. More birdies, fewer bogeys. Yeah, that usually leads to success.
- Tiger Woods didn’t have one three-putt at Pebble Beach at the 2000 U.S. Open and actually one-putted 34 of the 72 greens. However, what may be even more impressive was his ability to avoid trouble at The Open Championship at St. Andrews. In his four rounds, Woods never hit one shot into the 112 bunkers at the Old Course.
- Beginning with the final round of the 2000 U.S. Open and ending with the final round of the 2001 Masters, Tiger shot 13 straight rounds under par, which still stands as the record for the most consecutive subpar rounds in major championship history.
Here’s a quick look back at the “Tiger Slam.”
‘It’s just not a fair fight’ as Tiger Woods dominates the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Phil Mickelson once called Tiger Woods’ performance at the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach the greatest performance in golf history and he might just be right. Woods was the only man to finish under par that week, shooting rounds of 65-69-71-67 to finish at 12-under, at the time the lowest score to par in U.S. Open history.
Woods’ 15-shot margin of victory broke the 138-year record set by Old Tom Morris during the Civil War when he beat the field by 13 shots at The Open Championship in 1862. One of the most memorable calls in golf history came during Tiger’s second round. With his ball sitting in four-inch rough at the par-5 sixth hole, Woods smashed a seven-iron 205 yards over a tree (which is no longer there), over a cliff, and onto the green, to which NBC analyst Roger Maltbie remarked: “It’s just not a fair fight.” No, Roger, it certainly was not.
Woods completed the career Grand Slam with another blowout victory at The Open Championship
In winning the 2000 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods had completed three legs of the career Grand Slam and had the chance to finish it off at the Old Course at St. Andrews at The Open Championship. Woods began his first round with eight consecutive pars but then went on a tear.
Following a first-round 67, Woods shot a second-round 66 to take a three-shot lead into the weekend. He extended that lead to six over David Duval and Thomas Bjorn with a third-round 67 and coasted to victory with a final-round 69 to finish at 19-under for the week, at the time the lowest score in major championship history. With the victory, Woods, 24 at the time, became the youngest man in history to complete the career Grand Slam, beating Jack Nicklaus by two years.
His toughest test came at the 2000 PGA Championship against journeyman Bob May
Of all the Hall of Fame players Tiger Woods has battled over the years, it’s crazy to think that one of his toughest duels came against a player that recorded just one win in his career. Journeyman Bob May’s only win came at the Victor Chandler British Masters on the European Tour in 1999 but he gave Tiger the fight of his life at Valhalla at the 2000 PGA Championship.
Midway through the tournament, Tiger was at 11-under following rounds of 66 and 67. Bob May was at 6-under through 36 holes but charged up the leaderboard with a third-round 66 on Saturday, leaving him just one behind Woods heading into the final round. And what a final round it was. Woods and May traded birdies all day long and found themselves tied at 18-under, which led to a three-hole playoff. Woods made one of the most famous birdies of his career on the first playoff hole, running after his ball and pointing at it as it dropped in the cup. Two pars later, he had captured his third consecutive major championship.
The ‘Tiger Slam’ was completed at The Masters in 2001
Following his victory at the PGA Championship, Woods claimed victory three more times in 2000 and also had two consecutive wins leading into The Masters in 2001, winning at Bay Hill (like he always did) and capturing his first title at The Players Championship, the tournament featuring his “better than most” putt. But could Tiger actually pull off four majors in a row? Obviously, the answer to that question was a resounding yes.
As he tends to do at The Masters, Tiger Woods got off to a slow start, carding a 2-under round of 70, which put him five shots back of leader Chris DiMarco, whom Woods would battle four years later in a wild finish that included one of Tiger’s most famous shots. Tiger battled back to get within two with a second-round 66, tying him with Phil Mickelson for second. He pulled ahead of the field with a third-round 68 and Mickelson was right there in the final pairing to watch his rival complete the ‘Tiger Slam’ with a final-round 68, giving him a two-shot victory over David Duval.
For good measure, Tiger won two of his next three tournaments but his major championship winning streak came to an end at the 2001 U.S. Open at Southern Hills, where he finished 12th. But the stretch of golf he played in the year of the “Tiger Slam” was the best run the game of golf has ever seen and it will never be duplicated.