Tiger Woods’ Shot in the Dark: Remembering Glen Abbey in 2000

Tiger Woods. Mandatory Credit: Harry How/ALLSPORT
Tiger Woods. Mandatory Credit: Harry How/ALLSPORT /

Some of us who saw Tiger Woods make that shot live are still not sure we believe what we saw.

Tiger Woods was actually not the first to win three national championships in the same year. Lee Trevino was the first to win golf’s version of the Triple Crown, in 1971.

Trevino won the U.S., Canadian, and British Open over the course of about five weeks that summer. He won the U.S. in a playoff against Jack Nicklaus and the Canadian Open in a playoff against Art Wall, Jr, and then managed to win the British Open by a shot – delivering a second defeat to Nicklaus that year – to complete his Triple Crown.

In 2000 Tiger Woods was the second in man to win the game’s Triple Crown. In football terms he won the first two legs by about 5 touchdowns. He won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the Open Championship at St. Andrews by absolutely obnoxious, offensive type margins.

On his way to the Pebble and St. Andrews victories Tiger demoralized and destroyed the following field. But the rout didn’t stop at St. Andrews.

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Tiger followed up with a playoff victory over Bob May at the PGA Championship, then came back and won again the next week at the NEC Invitational by a mere 11 shots.

It was practically  a foregone conclusion that when Tiger showed up at Glen Abbey outside Toronto he was going to win. Someone named Grant Waite had other ideas.

Tiger took a one shot lead into the 72nd hole of the 2000 RBC Canadian Open. He had already had the greatest season in modern golf history. The only accomplishment left for Tiger in 2000 was to win golf’s Triple Crown. He left nothing out there after his victory at Glen Abbey.

Grant Waite hit his second shot right in the middle of the Par 5 18th to apply some heat to the undisputed best player in the world at the time. Tiger had missed the fairway to the right finding a fairway bunker.

Tiger hit a shot that was lots of testosterone and all heart, and It left no doubt.

It was getting a little dark out and there was a light drizzle. Tiger had finally pulled  ahead of Canadian Grant Waite on 16. Waite had a putt for Eagle and was certain to make Birdie.

Tiger’s ball was in the middle of the fairway bunker, but the problem was his line to the flag meant carrying the entire 213 yards over water.

The shot had absolutely no margin for error.

Tiger actually was as good as anyone ever at course management but on this one occasion everyone watching, including me, questioned the decision. Of course, there was a reason we were watching: Tiger was about to win a Triple Crown.

Next: Lee Trevino's 1971 triple crown

Tiger has highlight reels of unbelievable golf shots. The chip-in on 16 at the Masters in ’05 is maybe his most famous. For my money the 6 iron from the bunker in the dark to win the RBC Canadian Open and secure the Triple Crown for only the second Triple Crown in the history of golf best defines his greatness.