U.S. Open Championship: In his first start two months after surgery, parred the first sudden-death hole to beat Rocco Mediate and win the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines GC. Prevailed after he birdied the par-5 18th hole on Monday afternoon to complete an even-par 71 in an 18-hole playoff and tie Mediate to force sudden death, beginning on the par-4 seventh hole. Hit the green in regulation and two-putted on the dogleg right while Mediate, who was aiming to become the oldest U.S. Open champion at age 45, drove into a fairway bunker and then missed a 20-foot par putt. Sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force the 18-hole playoff with Mediate at 1-under-par 283. The victory was his third in the U.S. Open, his 14th major championship and the 65th of his TOUR career, third alone behind Sam Snead (82) and Jack Nicklaus (73). Improved to 14-for-14 in majors when holding the third-round lead. The win was also his seventh at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. (six Buick Invitationals and one U.S. Open), the most in TOUR history on one course.
Early in Woods' career, a small number of golf industry analysts expressed concern about his impact on the competitiveness of the game and the public appeal of professional golf. Sportswriter Bill Lyon of Knight Ridder asked in a column, "Isn't Tiger Woods actually bad for golf?" (though Lyon ultimately concluded that he was not). At first, some pundits feared that Woods would drive the spirit of competition out of the game of golf by making existing courses obsolete and relegating opponents to simply competing for second place each week.