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1999 PGA Championship Discussion Thread


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Better late than never. They showed the final round of the 1999 PGA on TGC tonight. Not the highlights, the entire round (for the leaders, anyway) as originally broadcast. I caught all but the first two holes. But I was very interested to watch, because I wanted to see how far off his best Tiger really is. The 1999 PGA was the beginning of Tiger's streak of 5 out of 6 wins in consecutive majors, so he was at or near his peak then. Since Tiger started winning again, certain people I could mention have been forced to stop saying he'll never win again, so they are now saying that he'll never be as good as he used to be, and they set that bar impossibly high. If he hits an iron off the tee, or misses a fairway when he does hit driver, or flubs a chip, or misses a putt inside 10 feet, they say the old Tiger never did that. And especially, when he had a lead on Sunday, he put the hammer down and extended it. You never saw him going backwards down the stretch. Let's check the tape. Tiger and Mike Weir comprised the final group, tied for the lead at -11 when the day began. In the group ahead of them was Stewart Cink and Sergio at -9. Weir quickly jumped on the bogey train, shooting an 80. Cink didn't do much, shooting a 73, which turned out to be good enough for T3. Nick Price made several birdies early, and got as low as -11, which would have tied Tiger's winning score. But he faded down the stretch, ending at -7. And that's all I'm going to say about the rest of the field. From now on, it's Tiger vs. Sergio. Feherty was breathless about Tiger even then. Tiger hit a good two-iron from the seventh fairway that just got onto the green, but since it was a fade from a hook lie, Feherty said it was one of the greatest shots he had ever seen. And that was after backing off from his earlier estimate that it would be THE greatest shot he'd ever seen if Tiger pulled it off. The announcers were calling drives over 310 "monsters." The head of Tiger's driver was so small that I couldn't tell it from his three wood, except by the head cover. Sergio hit driver almost every hole, and had some monsters of his own. Tiger played the front nine beautifully. By the 11th hole, he was -15 and had a five shot lead over Sergio. He was very conservative, hitting mostly 2- or 3-iron stingers off the tee. According to the announcers, back then he called the stinger his "British Open swing." Then Tiger bogeyed 12 by pulling an 8-footer that the announcers called easy. A minute later, Sergio made a long left-to-righter to birdie the par-3 13th. Two shot swing. That was when Sergio famously stuck his fist in the air and looked back at Tiger watching him from the tee, as if to say, "Top that!" Poor choice of words. Tiger proceeded to airmail the green, chipped back over it, mediocre second chip to 8 or 9 feet, and missed the putt. His lead had gone from five shots to one in two holes. Neither made another birdie. On the par-5 14th, Tiger hit his driver into the rough, laid up to 150 yards, and hit a mediocre 8-iron to about 30 feet. On 15, Sergio hit a great shot 180 yards out of very thick rough that just ran off the green, but he couldn't get up and down, and fell to -10. Tiger missed another easy 8-footer for birdie on 15, and laughed about how bad his putt was. They had bottled water in 1999, didn't they? But every time I saw Tiger taking a drink, it was out of a plastic cup. Did not see whether Stevie drank out of the same cup. Sergio's famous banana ball around the tree on 16. Nobody could believe he was trying it, and Kostis incorrectly said it was into the left rough even after he hit it. Everybody remembers the scissors kick, but Sergio was hamming it up all the way to the green from there. He looked like Charlie Chaplin in a silent movie, holding his heart, rolling his eyes, the whole bit. But heck, it really was a great shot. He could have broken his arm, because the ball was right up against a root, and he hit it very, very hard. It seems to me that Tiger has always thought the wind will affect his ball much more than it actually does. He had 186 uphill on 16, and hit an 8-iron. It was a good 20 yards short, into a bunker. And his shot out of the bunker left him a 20-footer, which he missed. Bogey, -11. Pars from then on, with Tiger making a tricky 8-footer to save par on the par-3 17th, after his tee shot went long into deep rough, and his chip came up short. Final score, Tiger 72 for -11, Sergio 71 for -10. Big hug between Tiger and Butch as he came off the 18th green. And then a big hug for Sergio, too, as Tiger patted his back and said, "Great playing!" Nice gesture from both of them, and the announcers predicted a great rivalry between Sergio and Tiger for the new millennium. So, what did we learn? IMO, his game now is not very different from his game then; it's just not quite as sharp. Tiger hit lots of 2 and 3 irons off the tee; I only remember one driver on a par 4, and one 3-wood. And Medinah was not a short course. It was 7400 yards, and the fairways were lush; most of the drives didn't roll very far. He pulled driver on the par 5's and the longest par 4, hit a couple great, and hit a couple into the rough. Tiger lagged well all day. No three-putts. I think it was the same for Sergio. But to summarize, Tiger seldom hit driver, missed the fairway about half the time when he did (but nothing wild), made some bad chips, made some bad bunker shots, and made some bad putts. And damn near blew a five shot lead with 7 holes to play. IMO he's closer to being back than many people think, including me before I watched this.
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Originally Posted by brocks

But to summarize, Tiger seldom hit driver, missed the fairway about half the time when he did (but nothing wild), made some bad chips, made some bad bunker shots, and made some bad putts. And damn near blew a five shot lead with 7 holes to play.

IMO he's closer to being back than many people think, including me before I watched this.

See, he sucked even back then.  LOL

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This is clearly a lie! He never hit a bad shot or missed a putt inside 10 feet! Just listen to the announcers or read some espn stories!

(Great summary, that's exactly what I think when I hear them talk. He missed easy putts, flubbed some chips and hit some bad shots just like he does now. But he was overall just a bit sharper than his current form.)

And Sergio's tree shot deserves a video here:

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I watched a few holes of it. It was great, and I wish GC aired more things like that rather than endless infomercials and stuff like 19th Hole. Could even do without the Big Break reruns.
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Thanks for taking the time to summarize.  I have wondered the same thing, how would 2012 Tiger play against 2000 Tiger.  Has he really fallen that far, or is it more a matter of better competition?  I think Tiger change the game in 2000.  Once someone shows you what it is possible, it becomes easier for others to do it.  In the months after the first mile was run in under 4 minutes, plenty of other people did it too.

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Besides Tiger's change in the last 13 years or so (which may or may not be so obvious), how about the big change in Sergio? I mean when I was watching this, all I could see was this fun loving, outgoing kid who was simply enjoying the battle down the stretch. He didn't even look too upset when he lost, just disappointed but knew he gave it everything he had. Now, Sergio just seems kind of bitter and closed up to everyone. I miss the old Sergio, and I think he would be much more popular if was more like who he was in 1999.

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Originally Posted by iPutt

Besides Tiger's change in the last 13 years or so (which may or may not be so obvious), how about the big change in Sergio? I mean when I was watching this, all I could see was this fun loving, outgoing kid who was simply enjoying the battle down the stretch. He didn't even look too upset when he lost, just disappointed but knew he gave it everything he had. Now, Sergio just seems kind of bitter and closed up to everyone. I miss the old Sergio, and I think he would be much more popular if was more like who he was in 1999.

I think he'd be a better golfer as well, if he could start enjoying the game again.

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I think he's getting there but it has to be tough when you're under the microscope like he is and everyone in the sport has an opinion or comment on what you do.

Originally Posted by turtleback

I think he'd be a better golfer as well, if he could start enjoying the game again.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

I think he's getting there but it has to be tough when you're under the microscope like he is and everyone in the sport has an opinion or comment on what you do.


I was talking about Sergio, not Tiger.

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