This year’s U.S. Open once again reminded us why tournament golf is so special. Englishman Justin Rose won his first ever major and did so in exciting fashion, fighting off a strong challenge from Phil Mickelson to eventually take home the trophy. It reminds us of just how many moments there have been in recent years when major golf tournaments have taken our breath away. Here is a collection of some of the most exciting finishes in major golf tournaments so far this century:
2008 U.S. Open
By 2008, everyone already knew just how good Tiger Woods was. Since his first major in 1997, he had constantly been making waves to establish himself as one of the greats in the game. However, in 2008 at Torrey Pines, Tiger went above and beyond. Struggling with a knee injury, he fought with Rocco Mediate throughout the tournament and resulting playoff, which eventually came to a climax in a dramatic sudden-death situation. Tiger won the first sudden-death round and took home his last major trophy to date.
Who can forget the 2012 Masters? It may only have been last year, but it will live long in the memory of golf fans for years to come. Bubba Watson has always been an exciting, unpredictable and most of all, popular champion. But if there was one thing that would cement his place in golf history, it was the way in which he won his first green jacket at Augusta in 2012. In the final round, Watson faced an impossible shot from the pines, only to hook it onto the green in what will be remembered as one of the greatest shots of all time.
After 2012, no one thought that such an exciting end to a Masters could ever be topped. Enter Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera. Neck and neck going into the final day, Scott and Cabrera shared the lead before the final hole. Scott went first and birdied his putt; everyone, including Scott himself, thought that he had the green jacket in the bag. Cabrera wasn’t giving it up that easily however, and he equaled Scott’s score to send the tournament into a playoff. After two tense holes, Scott defeated Cabrera and became the first Australian to win the Masters. And what a way to do it.
2000 PGA Championship
Bob May and (who else?) Tiger Woods were locked in a battle at the 2000 PGA Championship. Before the tournament, few people believed that anyone could give Woods a run for his money, but May almost ran away with it and so much more. In fact, it looked as though May was the winner going into the last two holes before Woods birdied both holes to force a playoff. In the three-hole playoff, it was Tiger who came out on top, beating May by a stroke.
2002 British Open
Once again, Tiger Woods was dominating the news in the lead up to the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield. However, by the end of the tournament, it was Ernie Els who stepped out of Woods' shadow to take home the coveted Claret Jug, despite the toughest of weather conditions, a tricky playoff against four men and eventually a sudden-death victory over Thomas Levet. It was one of the most exciting and dramatic golf tournaments of this century and all time.