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Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods, playing with an injured knee and leg, secured his record-tying ninth USGA championship by winning a third U.S. Open title in a 19-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif.

Woods, who previously won in 2000 and 2002, and Mediate each shot even-par 71 during the scheduled 18-hole playoff on Monday after they were tied through 72 holes at 1-under-par 283.

On the first sudden death hole, the 461-yard, par-4 seventh, Woods made a regulation par and Mediate was not able to convert a par putt after driving in the left fairway bunker and hitting out short and left of the green near the grandstand.

I think this is probably the best, said Woods of his victory compared to others. All things considered, don't know how I ended up in this position, to be honest with you.

It was a long week, a lot of doubt, a lot of questions going into the week. And, here we are 91 holes later.

Despite a nearly two-month respite because of knee surgery in April, Woods carved his way near the lead with a 3-under-par 68 in the second round and trailed leader Stuart Appleby by one stroke. But his surge came the next day.

Woods grabbed the 54-hole lead at 3-under-par 210 using some miraculous play on Saturday, often labeled "moving day". Through occasional grimaces of pain, Woods shot a 1-under-par 70, which included a 65-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 13th hole, a chip-in for birdie on the par-4 17th and a snake-like 25-foot downhiller for eagle on the 18th.

At 13, I just went nuts, Woods said. Eighteen was just sweet.

Holder of a perfect 13-0 mark when in the lead or sharing it at the 54-hole mark at major championships, Woods began his quest with a double-bogey 6 on Torrey Pines' first hole.

Mediate, who survived a playoff in sectional qualifying to earn a spot in the field, was playing in the group ahead of Woods. His par-4 on the first hole combined with the Woods 6 tied the competition. When Woods followed with a bogey on the second hole after Mediate made a birdie 3, the momentum and the lead belonged to Mediate.

The well-liked 45-year-old Mediate was vying to supplant Hale Irwin as the oldest U.S. Open champion on the longest course in Open history (7,643 yards). However, his back-to-back bogeys on the fifth and sixth hole and a Woods birdie on the ninth returned a one-stroke lead to the 14-time major champion.

To bolster the drama, Mediate birdied the 10th to tie again. Then he and Woods took turns for onestroke leads on the 13th and 11th, respectively.

Mediate's birdie putt to take the lead on the 14th brought thoughts of an upset to the large galleries. That set the stage, however, for a quintessential finish.

Trailing by one stroke on the 72nd tee, Woods found a fairway bunker and played to reach the green on the par-5 in three. His approach landed 12 feet from the hole. Mediate had reached the surface in three as well and lagged his first putt to four feet.

Needing to hole the putt, Woods guided his ball into the heart of the hole for a closing birdie. Mediate's par putt forced the Monday playoff.


Starts - 12

Best Finish - Winner 2000, 2002, 2008

Rds - 51

Cuts Made - 12

Top 3 - 6

Top 5 - 6

Top 10 - 6

Top 25 - 11

Avg. 71.24

Scores in 60s - 15

Rds Under Par - 16

Earnings - $4,988,257.10

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    Historical Notes
    On Oct. 4, 1895, the first U.S. Open Championship was conducted by the United States Golf Association on the nine-hole course of Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club.
    The first U.S. Open was considered something of a sideshow to the first U.S. Amateur, which was played on the same course and during the same week. Both championships had been scheduled for September but were postponed because of a conflict with a more established Newport sports spectacle, the America's Cup yacht races.
    Ten professionals and one amateur started in the 36-hole competition, which was four trips around the Newport course in one day. The surprise winner was Horace Rawlins, 21, an English professional who was the assistant at the host course. Rawlins scored 91-82-173 with the gutta-percha ball.
    Prize money totalled $335, of which Rawlins won the $150 first prize. He also received a gold medal and custody of the Open Championship Cup for his club for one year.
    In its first decade, the U.S. Open was conducted for amateurs and the largely British wave of immigrant golf professionals coming to the United States.
    As American players began to dominate the game, the U.S. Open evolved into an important world golf championship. Young John J. McDermott became the first native-born American winner in 1911 and repeated as champion in 1912.
    In 1913, the U.S. Open really took off when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old American amateur, stunned the golf world by defeating famous English professionals, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, in a playoff.
    Another surge in the championship's popularity coincided with the amazing career of Georgia amateur Bob Jones, who won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929, 1930). Spectator tickets were sold for the first time in 1922 and a boom in entries caused the USGA to introduce sectional qualifying in 1924.
    In 1933, John Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to win the U.S. Open. The others were Ouimet, Jerome D. Travers (1915), Charles Evans Jr., (1916), and Jones.
    In each era, the world's greatest players have been identified by surviving the rigorous examination provided by the U.S. Open. Ben Hogan's steely determination boosted him to four victories (1948, 1950, 1951, 1953). Arnold Palmer's record comeback win in 1960, when he fired a final round of 65 to come from seven strokes off the lead, cemented his dashing image. Jack Nicklaus' historic assault on the professional record book began when he won the first of his four U.S. Open Championships in 1962, his rookie season as a professional.
    Nicklaus, who also won in 1967, 1972, and 1980, is one of only four golfers to win four U.S. Opens. The others are Willie Anderson (1901, 1903, 1904, 1905), Jones and Hogan.
    In 1954, the U.S. Open course was roped from tee to green for the first time. That year also marked the first national television coverage. Coverage was expanded by ABC Sports in 1977 so that all 18 holes of the final two rounds were broadcast live. In 1982, on the ESPN cable network, the first two rounds were broadcast live for the first time. NBC began televising the U.S. Open in 1995.
    The format of the U.S. Open has changed several times. The USGA extended the championship to 72 holes in 1898, with 36 holes played on each of two days. In 1926, the format was changed to 18 holes played each of two days, then 36 holes on the third day. In 1965, the present format of four 18-hole daily rounds was implemented for the first time.
    In 2002, a two-tee (Nos. 1 and 10) start was used for the first and second rounds. In addition, Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., was the first facility owned by the public to host a U.S. Open. International qualifying sites were added in 2005 and the champion at Pinehurst Resort in N.C. was Michael Campbell, who qualified in England.