U.S. OPEN BLOG: It's Tiger vs. Rocco in 18-hole playoff for the championship
By Kirk Kenney
June 16, 2008

SUDDEN DEATH - 7th hole, 461 yards

Tiger Woods earns his 14th majors victory today, defeating Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff to capture the 108th U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Woods' victory comes two months and one day after undergoing surgery on his left knee. He had not walked 18 holes before playing the first round last Thursday

Woods' 14 majors titles leaves him four shy of Jack Nicklaus' record 18.

Woods and Mediate were tied at even-par 71 today after 18 holes. In sudden death, Woods earned the title by parring the par-four seventh while Mediate bogeyed. Mediate drove into the rough on seven, then his second shot hit the grandstand. He chipped to about 20 feet but couldn't hit the putt to force the playoff to a second hole.

Before a raucous crowd estimated at 25,000, it proved to be a rollercoaster ride for Woods. After nine holes, it looked like his third U.S. Open was secure, leading Mediate by three strokes.

But Mediate, who at 45 was seeking to win his first major and become the national championship's oldest winner, did not go away. Mediate picked up four strokes in five holes, running off three straight birdies, starting at the par-five 13th.

When Mediate birdied the par-4 15th, he assumed a one-stroke lead, which he held until 18.

While Mediate's drive on 18 found a left fairway bunker, Woods unleashed a 308-yard drive. On in two, he two-putted for birdie. Mediate needed to make a three-foot par putt to force the playoff.

It was only the third sudden-death playoff in U.S. Open history.

The playoff began on the par-four, 461-yard seventh hole. Tiger figured to have the advantage. He had scored two birdies and three pars on the hole. Mediate posted four pars and a bogey.