The time when Tiger Woods nearly ran out of golf balls at 2000 US Open

Tiger Woods may have won the 2000 US Open by a record 15 strokes, but he very nearly ran out of golf balls on the Saturday! 

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 12 Jun 2019


Tiger Woods may have gone on to win the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 shots, but the story may have a lot different following a golf ball malfunction between he and caddie Steve Williams on the Saturday morning.


Teeing up on the 18th hole during the fog-delayed second round where Woods had already stormed into a comfortable lead, the former World No.1 uncharacteristically hooked his tee shot into Carmel Bay, prompting him to unleash an expletive live on air.

Little did Woods know, however, the very next golf ball he was passed by Williams was the last one in his bag.

Williams panicked while discovering this, but didn't tell Woods as he feared he would "freak out", according to the source who confirmed the incident.

As a result, Williams asked Woods to take out an iron and find the fairway, but Woods disagreed as he said he was hitting the driver nicely with the exception of his last swing. 

Thankfully Woods kept his next ball in play before finding out about the golf ball situation from Williams after completing the hole.

"Stevie said, 'I'd like for you to hit an iron, just to get it into play,' " Woods later went on to say.

"I was swinging well, so I went with driver. Obviously, I didn't know the complete situation: The only ball I had left was the one I teed up."

So how did the golf ball error happen in the first place? Well, Woods apparently took three balls out of his bag the night before to practice his putting on the carpet in his hotel room, but then forgot to put them back in his bag before Saturday morning's re-start. 

After scuffing a couple of balls, he handed some out to some kids in the gallery, leaving him with just two balls on the 18th, which went down to one after finding the ocean with his first drive.

According to Williams, who this week caddies for Jason Day, the New Zealander had hatched a plan that he would sprint to the pro shop should Woods have hit another tee shot into the water at 18.

Woods, on the other hand, assumed he would have been disqualified for running out of balls. 

According to a USGA  rules official, however, a player can borrow a golf ball from another player or an "outside agency", provided it's the same brand and type he was previously using.
If Woods had not obtained another ball without "undue delay," then he would have incurred a two-stroke penalty.
Then again, he could have afforded it. He did win by 15 after all. 


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