2000 Season Review
Tiger's Legendary Season
This was a season for the record books.
On the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods joined Ben Hogan (1953) as the only two golfers in history to win three Grand Slam events in one season. If that isn't impressive enough, the way in which Tiger won those events was nothing short of jaw-dropping.
He won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes, the British Open at St. Andrews by eight strokes and defended his PGA championship in a pressure-cooker, sudden-death playoff with Bob May. He now owns or shares the scoring record (in relation to par) for all four majors.
And that's not all. Woods won nine events and finished in the top-10 17 times. He became the PGA Tour's all-time money leader and his scoring average this year was 68.24, shattering the mark of 68.33 that Byron Nelson compiled in 1945.
There weren't any other stories in golf that reached the significance of Woods' milestones, but there were some highlights. In the first major of the year, the Masters, Fiji's Vijay Singh captured his first Grand Slam title. Spain's Sergio Garcia handed Woods a rare loss at the "Battle at Bighorn," this year's primetime golf special. And the U.S. team won back the Presidents Cup with a 211/2-101/2 victory over the International team at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia.
Karrie Woods…oops I mean Karrie Webb pieced together a record-breaking season of her own on the LPGA Tour. Webb, who won six tournaments last year, won seven events in 2000, including two majors (Nabisco, U.S. Open). She also almost became the first woman to top the $2 million mark in earnings ($1,865,053) en route to her second straight player of the year award.
Three-time player of the year, Annika Sorenstam won five tournaments and, like Webb, qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Veterans Juli Inkster (LPGA Championship) and Meg Mallon (du Maurier) won major tournaments not won by Webb in 2000. And the Tour announced the du Maurier Classic will be replaced by the British Open as the fourth major.
The biggest upset of the year occurred at the Solheim Cup where the European Team built up a huge lead and defeated the United States 141/2-111/2. It was Europe's first title since 1992. The most memorable moment was Sorenstam being brought to tears by the American Team which made her replay a successful chip shot because it was out of turn.
And finally, LPGA rookies made headlines in 2000. Dorothy Delasin and Grace Park each won a tournament and both finished among the top 25 money leaders. Thai twins Aree and Naree Wongluekiet, who both turned 14 during the season, made impressive debuts. Aree's season highlight came in the Nabisco Championship where she finished in the top-10 while Naree was the top amateur at the U.S. Open.
The trio of Larry Nelson, Bruce Fleisher and Hale Irwin, dominated the Senior PGA Tour leaderboards in 2000. Nelson won six tournaments and topped the tour money list, while Fleisher and Irwin each won four events. All three topped the $2 million mark in earnings.
However, of those three only Irwin won a Senior Tour major (U.S. Open) in 2000. The other three were won by tour freshman Tom Kite (Tradition), sophomore Doug Tewell (PGA Seniors Championship) and veteran Ray Floyd (Players Championship) who won his fourth senior major.
Colin Montgomerie's seven-year reign atop the Volvo Order of Merit was snapped by 27-year-old European Tour player of the year Lee Westwood. Westwood won six times on the Tour during the year and earned a record 3,125,146 euro ($2,775,792).
Other candidates for player of the year included Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and New Zealand's Michael Campbell. Campbell won five times in 2000, and in February Clarke became the first European winner of a World Golf Championships event. Clarke beat Woods and David Duval en route to a victory at the WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play.