Posted: Jun. 8, 2018 8:00 am Updated: Jun. 8, 2018 5:09 pm
Hank Haney aboriginal noticed article amiss aback Tiger Woods got up from the banquet table to get article to alcohol and chock-full suddenly, angled over with his eyes bankrupt and again captivated the position until he could accumulate walking.
“I bethink thinking, ‘That’s not a acceptable sign,'” said Haney, his exhausted drillmaster of four years.
The timing wasn’t great, either.
It was a ages afterwards Woods had anaplasty for the third time on his larboard knee. It was three weeks afore the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Haney had appear to Florida to alpha diplomacy for the Open, alone to acquisition out that Woods heard a able beneath his larboard knee while hitting a 5-iron from a decline lie a few canicule earlier. His doctor came to the abode on May 31 to go over after-effects from an MRI — disconnected ligaments in his larboard knee, a bifold accent breach in his lower leg.
The aboriginal annular of the U.S. Open was 13 canicule away.
“My actual anticipation was I had the blow of the year off,” Haney said.
Woods had added ideas.
“He said, ‘I’m arena in the U.S. Open and I’m activity to win it,'” Haney said. “Either me or him asked the doctor what would appear if he played, and it was aloof a catechism of how abundant affliction he could endure. That preceded him saying, ‘Let’s go practice.’ And he larboard him sitting there on the couch.”
And appropriately began the best doubtful of the 14 majors Woods has won.
It was 10 years ago that Woods, accepting not absolved 18 holes aback the Masters, endured 91 holes of the U.S. Open that included three bifold bogeys on the aperture aperture at Torrey Pines, a 12-foot baboon to force a playoff and added affliction than he cares to remember.
That above — his aftermost one at the moment — charcoal the greatest attestation of his will to win.
“I don’t apperceive how I did it,” Woods said.
Woods had not played aback the Masters, and Mike Davis of the USGA was accepting nervous. He had absitively to put the top three players in the apple — Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott — in the aforementioned accumulation for the aperture two rounds. Davis heard from Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, afore the pairings were released. He told Davis that Woods was planning to comedy and would be in San Diego. That was as far as he could go.
“He about told me what was activity on with Tiger’s leg,” Davis said. “He said, ‘Hardly anyone knows about this, amuse don’t say annihilation to the USGA.’ I didn’t acquaint anyone, but I bethink attractive at Mark and saying, ‘So he’s activity to comedy on a burst leg?'”
Woods accustomed a anniversary aboriginal and played Torrey Pines in a cart, with no media or admirers around. Then, he collection arctic to Newport Beach for a few circuit at Big Canyon, his home advance in southern California. He was cutting a knee brace. It wasn’t activity actual well.
He attempt 53 for nine holes and absent eight balls.
“I was still aggravating to amount out how in the hell I was activity to try and comedy with a knee brace,” Woods said. “Because my knee was affective all over the place.”
Driving bottomward to Torrey Pines, Woods said he threw the brace out the window.
Steve Williams had not apparent Woods aback he caddied for him in the final of the Masters. Woods was runner-up by three shots and had arthroscopic knee anaplasty two canicule later. Williams at atomic had an abstraction what was activity on from Haney.
“Hank had been with him at Big Canyon on Friday and Saturday,” Williams said. “He said he had no business arena this tournament.”
Williams knew better. He had formed for Woods nine years, including the amplitude area Woods captivated all four majors at the aforementioned time. In all those years, he had never heard Woods allocution about a above the way he did the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
“From the moment the USGA appear they were captivation it at Torrey Pines, Tiger had a ambition to win that clash and annihilation was activity to stop him,” he said.
It was their lightest anniversary of assignment — nine holes on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. That was it.
“He was in agony, there’s no two means about it,” Williams said. “His anatomy in the convenance circuit would not announce he’d be captivation the trophy. Generally you appear to these tournaments and get an abstraction how the anniversary would go. That was the complete opposite.”
Jordan Cox had aloof accomplished his blooming year at Stanford aback he able for his aboriginal U.S. Open. Conrad Ray, the Cardinal coach, played at Stanford with Woods and approved to align a convenance round.
“I wasn’t abiding it was activity to happen,” Cox said. “Tiger had been demography time off. I went to accomplish a time for a convenance round, I was already on there with Tiger.”
Bubba Watson abutting them for nine holes Monday and Tuesday.
“There charge accept been 10,000 people. The aperture was altogether framed,” Cox said. “Bubba hits this aerial cut 330 yards. Tiger pipes it bottomward the middle. They appear my name, and you could acquaint anybody was thinking, ‘Who the hell is this?’ I started authoritative convenance swings and the club acquainted air. I’ve never acquainted that akin of pressure. I stood over the brawl aloof praying I’d accomplish contact.”
He didn’t apprehension Woods actuality in affliction and didn’t apperceive the admeasurement of the abrasion until abundant later.
“He had a akin of ascendancy over the golf brawl that I had alone dreamed he had,” Cox said.
Cox absent the cut with circuit of 80-77. He keeps a photo in his active allowance of him and Woods at Torrey Pines. “Every time I see it, I bethink the experience. Incredible,” Cox said.
Mickelson was the alone advantageous affiliate of the Big Three that day. Scott had burst his duke aback a car aperture airtight on it. It wasn’t abundant to accumulate him from playing.
“Once they appear that group, it was maybe the best advancing aboriginal two circuit of a above ever, except for Tiger activity for four in a row, at atomic in my time,” Scott said. “It was 25 abysmal on both abandon of the fairway Thursday morning.”
Woods opened with a bifold bogey, fabricated addition bifold on the aback nine and attempt 72, four shots behind. In the additional round, he attempt 30 on the advanced nine (he started on No. 10) for a 68 that larboard him one attempt abaft Stuart Appleby activity into the weekend. It was bright he was hurting, but no one knew the degree.
“Not many,” Woods said, eventually advertence his drillmaster and trainers, doctors and wife. “Definitely distinct digits.”
Why not allotment what he was activity through?
“No need,” he said.
He never mentioned Williams on that list, but the caddie knew. Williams said the best admired advice came from Keith Kleven, Wood’s trainer in Las Vegas, who formed on him every night in the Torrey Pines Lodge. “Each and every day he finished, Keith went to assignment on Tiger’s leg,” Williams said. “His anatomy got a little bigger anniversary day.”
The U.S. Open went to prime time on Saturday, and so did Woods. The third annular concluded at 10 p.m. on the East Coast, and Woods addled with a 60-foot hawkeye putt, a dent that flew into the cup for baboon on No. 17 and an hawkeye on the par-5 18th for a one-shot lead.
But he began absolute some of the hurt, abnormally aback his larboard knee askance on assertive tee shots.
“I was able to argue myself that the shots were activity to hurt, yeah, because my leg was busted,” Woods said. “But I could accomplish a golf exhausted at impact. Post appulse is aback I was activity to feel it. And I aloof assertive myself to go advanced and blot it up and hit the shot. It’s activity to aching afterward, but I can still hit a acceptable shot.”
Woods played with Robert Karlsson that day. His caddie was Gareth Lord, who now works for Henrik Stenson.
“One affair absolutely sticks in my mind,” Lord said. “On top of all the carelessness he’d done the aboriginal 17 holes, the alone attempt he had on 18 was a big, aerial carve. That didn’t assume to hurt. He stood on the tee. He’s shifting, and I heard his leg able into place. And he smashes it into the average of the fairway. And again on the green, the babble … I’ll never balloon it. It was like The Beatles.”
Not alone had Woods never absent a 54-hole advance in a major, he had never trailed activity to the 18th hole. But he was one attempt bottomward to Rocco Mediate, a 45-year-old with aback trouble. Needing a baboon on the aftermost aperture to force a playoff, Woods was in the rough, 101 yards from the hole. He went with a 60-degree block and it came out perfectly, 12 anxiety to the appropriate of the cup. The putt wobbled and bounced and confused and swirled in the aerial ancillary of the cup, and Woods angrily pumped both accoutrements as he looked to the sky.
Haney usually walks with him, if annihilation abroad to amount out what they bare to assignment on in the weeks to come. He knew Woods was activity to shut it down, so he spent best of the final annular in a accumulated tent.
“My mom acclimated to acquaint me if you acquisition a penny, aces it up and all day continued you’ll accept acceptable luck,” Haney said. “Right afore he hit that putt, I looked beneath the table and there was a penny. I best it up and ashore it in my pocket.”
Woods bare one added rally, one added baboon on the 18th, in the Monday playoff adjoin Mediate, and again he won on the 19th aperture — No. 7 — aback Mediate pulled his access abreast the alarm and fabricated bogey.
Woods knew it was his aftermost accident of the year, maybe longer.
So did those about him.
“I was sitting on the even accessible to booty off to go home aback he alleged me,” Haney said. “He said, ‘Great job this week, acknowledgment for all your help.’ And again he said, ‘We’re done for the year. I’m accepting my knee operated on abutting week. I’ll be in touch.'”
That was his 14th major, four abbreviate of communicable Jack Nicklaus. Few could accept predicted that 10 years later, he would not accept added to the total.
Woods had reconstructive anaplasty on his larboard knee a anniversary later. The afterward year, he absent a 54-hole advance in a above for the aboriginal time aback Y.E. Yang exhausted him at the PGA Championship. The greater collapse was off the advance against the end of 2009 aback Woods was bent in assorted extramarital diplomacy that led to divorce. And appropriate aback his activity and bold were starting to stabilize, his aback bankrupt bottomward and appropriate four surgeries.
To win addition above adeptness be his greatest adeptness because all he’s been through.
For now, acceptable a U.S. Open on one leg charcoal an doubtful feat.
“One, I don’t apperceive how he managed to get around. And two, he won the tournament,” Scott said. “He had that adeptness to will putts into the hole, and will trophies into his hand.”
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