88th PGA Championship
August 17-20, 2006
Expectations for the 88th PGA Championship at Medinah were high. Golf Digest ranked the club as the 15th best in the United States, and 1st among the Chicago area courses. Ninety-three of the world’s top one hundred golfers—far more than in any major tournament held that year—were eager to test the Rees Jones re-design of Course No.3. It had re-opened in 2003 at 7,561 yards, par 72, and the Medinah membership and staff had been preparing for the championship for two and a half years.
In his practice round, and fresh from his win at the British Open, Tiger Woods shot a 5 under par 67. For the opening round, he was paired with Phil Mickelson, the defending champion and winner of the Masters. They tied with Geoff Ogilvy, the U.S.Open winner, with a 69, yet trailed Lucas Glover and Chris Riley by three strokes.
Rain during the night softened the greens for the second round. Tim Herron, Luke Donald, Billy Andrade and Henrick Stenson all tied with a 67. Tiger Woods was one stroke back. On Saturday, his score of 65 put him in a tie with Luke Donald for the lead at 14 under. At that time, Tiger Woods was considered to be one of golf’s greatest front-runners. He had held or tied the lead in eleven previous majors. Sergio Garcia was just 4 strokes behind. His fans continued to pay their respects to "Sergio’s tree" down the hill from the 16th green where he had hit an almost impossible shot during the 1999 PGA Championship.
For the final round, Tiger Woods was paired with Luke Donald –both wore red shirts. Donald with his background as a part-time resident of Evanston, possibly for a brief time, became an adopted Chicagoan to new fans looking for a winner with hometown connections. The gallery cheered him on with chants of "Luuke- Luuke". Of course, Tiger Woods had his own faithful crowd who were waiting for another spectacular finish. His birdie putt on the first hole, and his 4 under finish on the front nine, set the stage for what was to come.
However, Shaun Micheel, hoping to repeat his 2003 win of the PGA Championship, began to possibly challenge Tiger. With his birdies on the 13th and 14th holes, Micheel was 14 under. Then, on the final hole he hit his tee shot into heavy rough for a bogey that gave him second place, 5 strokes behind Woods. Tiger had only 3 bogies in the entire tournament.
Tiger Woods won the tournament with a 270, 18 under par. Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, and Luke Donald tied for third with 12 under par. Eighteen under par is impressive, but Medinah’s Course No.3, "the monster," did take its toll. After Friday’s round, many of the world’s top players went home. They included two-time champion, Vijay Singh, past champions John Daly and Nick Price; the 2005 U.S. Open Champion, Michael Campbell, and Ryder Cup team members, Colin Montgomerie and Scott Verplank. Fred Couples and Jesper Parnevik did not make the cut.
Played on Course No. 3
Yards: 7,561 yards
Overall Par: 288
Overall Purse: $6,800,000
Won by Tiger Woods: 69-68-65-68=270