81st PGA Championship
Just 23 and with the game of a veteran, Tiger Woods captured the 81st PGA Championship at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, and may have found his biggest rival as golf heads into the next century. Woods nearly squandered a five-stroke lead before salvaging an even-par 72 for a winning total of 11-under-par 277. His two-putt for par on the 72nd hole was one stroke better than 19-year-old Sergio Garcia of Spain. Woods took home a first-place prize of $630,000 from a PGA record purse of $3.5 million. Jay Haas, the 36-hole leader, and Stewart Cink tied for third at 280.
The real drama in the woods of Medinah evolved on the back nine of the final round.
Garcia, who took the first-round lead, is the youngest player to compete in the PGA Championship since Gene Sarazen in 1921. Woods, who won the 1997 Masters title, was competing in his third PGA Championship. He became the fifth youngest PGA Champion and the youngest since Jack Nicklaus in 1963.
Woods triumphed over the strongest field in the history of golf. A record 92 of the world’s top 100 players, featuring 43 international players from 19 countries, competed for the Wanamaker Trophy. One international contestant, left-hander Mike Weir of Canada, tied Woods for the third-round lead. But Weir fell quickly out of contention in the final round and tied for 10th after an 80.