2010 US Open (Golf)

The Myth About Tiger Woods' Dominance at Pebble Beach

18 Jun 2000:  Tiger Woods of the USA poses with the winning trophy after winning the 100th US Open held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, in Pebble Beach, California. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport
David Cannon/Getty Images
Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2010

The last time the U.S. Open was held at Pebble Beach was in 2000, when Tiger Woods won by 15-strokes and broke Old Tom Morris’ 138-year old record for the largest margin of victory at a major championship.

From that moment on, it has been considered common knowledge that Woods “owns” Pebble Beach.

Well, not so fast.

You see, Woods could have been playing on the moon in 2000 and he still would have decimated the field. His performance in 2000 was arguably the greatest single season performance since Byron Nelson won 18 events, including a streak of 11 consecutive victories, in 1945.  

One win, no matter how dominant that win may be, does not automatically merit a “horses for courses” label.

In fact, if anything, Pebble Beach does not even suit Woods’ game.  

Woods typically thrives on longer courses with heavy rough, such as Bethpage or Torrey Pines.

Pebble Beach is a quintessential ball striker’s golf course—it’s not very long, the fairways aren’t even wide enough to drive a Mack Truck through, and the greens are about the size of an average kitchen table.

Just look at the past U.S. Open champions at Pebble Beach:

Jack Nicklaus—an accurate ball-striker, particularly with his long irons.

Tom Watson—a tremendous ball striker.

Tom Kite—an accurate ball striker.

Woods, with his inaccuracy off the tee and grinders mentality is actually an anomaly when put in the company of Nicklaus, Watson and Kite.

Woods has only two victories at Pebble Beach, both of which came in 2000.

He won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February of 2000, after overcoming a seven-stroke deficit which was significantly aided by a hole-out eagle on the 15th and Matt Gogel carding a 40 on the back-nine. Four months later, he made a mockery of the USGA at the 2000 U.S. Open.

But aside from 2000, Woods has had only one other top-10 finish at Pebble Beach, which came in 1997 when he finished second to Mark O’Meara.

St. Andrews?

Yes. It can be said that Woods owns St. Andrews, considering he has cruised to victory at the last two Open Championships which were held there.

Augusta National?

Yes. Woods has won four times at Augusta.

Torrey Pines?

They might as well re-name it “Tiger’s Alley.” The guy wins nearly every time he tees it up at Torrey Pines.

But, despite his 15-stroke victory at the 2000 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach is a bit of an unknown when it comes to Woods.

When he’s on, Woods obviously has the talent to win at just about any golf course on the face of the planet. But, the view that Woods owns Pebble Beach is more or less based on a single victory, which came during a year where he won nine events and three consecutive major championships.

Heck, Woods would have won a Frisbee golf tournament by 15-strokes back in June of 2000.

For more PGA Tour news, insight and analysis, check out The Tour Report .

 

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