81st PGA Championship
August 12-15, 1999
Medinah’s Course No.3 at 7,401 yards was the second-longest course played in major tournament history. The names on the leader board represented golfdom’s greats, past, present, and future. There was Hale Irwin at age fifty-four, and Sergio Garcia, age nineteen, and Tiger Woods, at age twenty-four, was somewhere in between. Tiger was favored to win; yet an unknown teenager from Spain would challenge him for the Wanamaker Trophy and the admiration of the gallery spectators.
Weather conditions for the event were less than favorable. Rain softened the course for the beginning of the first round. There was a forty-seven minute lightning delay. The scoreboard was filled with the names of players scoring below par 72. Sergio Garcia tied the course record with a 6 under 66. Jay Haas, Mike Weir and J. P. Hayes were 4 under, and five others 3 under. It rained again for Friday’s round. Jay Haas took the lead after shooting a 9 under 67. Mike Weir came in with an 8 under to take the second spot. Tiger Woods made just one par with 5 birdies and a bogey on the first seven holes. This put him two back in third place. Lee Westwood scored a 6 under. Skip Kendall’s 65 was a course record for a major event at Medinah. He shared fifth place honors that day with Hale Irwin, Sergio Garcia, and Stewart Cink.
On Saturday, the sun came out, and Tiger Woods made 3 straight birdies on he front nine and carded a 4 under par 68 for a tie with Mike Weir. Garcia, the youngest PGA participant since Gene Sarazen in 1921, shot a bogey free 68 that tied him with Cink for second.
45,000 fans came through the gate for the final round, and many would be standing fifty deep to watch Tiger Woods win the tournament. To do this, he had built up a 6 shot lead by the time he played the par 57th hole. As the pressure mounted, the last thirty-five minutes of the event became a virtual duel between Woods and Garcia. On the 13th hole, Garcia completed at tricky downhill putt for a birdie 2, and then turned and gestured at Woods, expressing a silent challenge. That confrontation had the crowd cheering, "Sergio-Sergio," and the rivalry began.
Tiger’s lead was dwindling, bogey on 12, double bogey on 13 and bogey on 16. On the 16th, Garcia was presented with an almost unplayable lie at the foot of a tree. He seemed to close his eyes and hit the ball 189 yards onto the green. Garcia’s bold shot and his youthful enthusiasm as he jumped and ran to the green further endeared him to his new fans.
However, the challenge may have energized Woods. He saved a par on the 17th, and again made par on the 18th to overcome Garcia’s threat by one stroke. Tiger Woods ‘winning score was an 11 under par 277. Soon after this win, at age 24, he became the youngest winner of a career grand slam.
Played on Medinah's Course No.3
Overall Par: 288
Overall Purse: $3,500,000
Won by Tiger Woods: 70-67-68-72=277