Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Sitting down for his post-championship interview in 2000, Tiger Woods opened with a simple comment that summed up his historic victory at the U.S. Open.
"Well, I guess I won."
More than that, Woods dominated from start to finish in a record-setting rout at the year's second major.
Among the U.S. Open records Woods set that week were most strokes under par (12), largest margin of victory (15 shots), largest 36-hole lead (six shots) and largest 54-hole lead (10 shots).
In short, Woods may have reached the peak of his dominance during those four rounds at Pebble Beach, finishing the championship with a 12-under 272 that left his fellow competitors wondering what course he was playing.
Woods was the only player who finished under par.
"When you have a guy playing like that, you have no chance," said Ernie Els, who was paired with Woods for the final round.
Els and Miguel Angel Jimenez finished as distant runners-up that Sunday, and Els was left wondering how someone who was only 24 years old could be so much better than anyone else.
"It seems like we're not playing in the same ballpark right now," Els said afterward.
This week, the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach for the first time since that historic Sunday, but Woods doesn't look anything like the dominant player he was 10 years ago.
Following a sex scandal that dynamited his personal life and public image, and a neck injury that forced him to withdraw from The Players Championship, Woods' once-solid position as the No. 1 player in golf is suddenly open for attack.
He hasn't won a major since picking up No. 14 in dramatic fashion at the 2008 U.S. Open, where he beat Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff at Torrey Pines while playing on a severely injured leg.
In the interim, six players have captured majors: Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Y.E. Yang and Phil Mickelson. Harrington has won two.
Woods' showed cracks in his armor at last year's PGA Championship, where Yang pulled off the previously impossible feat of defeating Woods at a major when Woods held the 54-hole lead.
Suddenly, Woods looked beatable. And with only one top-10 finish in four starts this season -- a fourth-place tie at the Masters, his 2010 debut -- he still does.
With Woods no longer a bullet-proof lock as the overwhelming favorite, this week's U.S. Open is setting up to be a wide-open championship with many contenders.
Mickelson won the year's first major when he captured his third Masters title and he has looked like the best player in golf many times this season. His history at U.S. Opens is a dubious one, of course, with a record-setting five runner-up finishes.
Lefty's latest runner-up came last year at Bethpage Black, where he was playing for the final time before his wife, Amy, began treatment for breast cancer. Mickelson was the favorite as always in front of the New York galleries, especially as he made a charge during the Monday finish, but the result was a familiar one: another runner-up, his fourth at a U.S. Open in New York.
Lee Westwood has never won a major, but the talented Englishman is the reigning European No. 1 and third-ranked player in the world behind Woods and Mickelson.
Westwood has too many good finishes at major championships to mention in detail -- the latest was a runner-up to Mickelson at this year's Masters -- but one in particular is often overlooked. We forget that he missed a birdie putt on the 72nd hole with a chance to join Woods and Mediate in the U.S. Open playoff in 2008.
And then there's this: Westwood is coming off a win at the St. Jude Classic, his first on the PGA Tour in 12 years. That's good momentum, but a bad historical omen. No player has ever won a PGA Tour event and then captured the U.S. Open the following week.
There are the usual top contenders in this week's field -- proven talent like Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Els -- as well as young stars like Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa, who will draw attention.
There has also been an English revival this season, led by Westwood, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Luke Donald, who have all captured significant wins this season. Three of them -- Rose isn't in the field -- will be looking to snap an English drought at majors that goes back to Nick Faldo's win at the 1996 Masters.
This week's darkhorse pick isn't really a darkhorse at all: 29th-ranked Dustin Johnson, who has captured the regular PGA Tour stop at Pebble Beach in each of the last two seasons.
The sentimental favorite is 60-year-old Tom Watson, who was given a special exemption by the USGA to play in his first U.S. Open since 2003. The offer came on the heels of his tie for 18th place at this year's Masters, where he opened with a turn-back-the-clock 67 and remained in contention until tying for 18th place.
Of course, it might also have something to do with his playoff loss to Stewart Cink at last year's British Open, where Watson nearly gave us the greatest golf story of all time.
Watson captured his only U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1982, knocking off Jack Nicklaus with a chip-in birdie at the 17th hole on Sunday. Watson has played in all four U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach, making the cut in three of them.
While it is unlikely that Watson will win this week, the recent history of U.S. Opens has showed us that anything is possible at the year's second major.
The last four championships have given us Mickelson's 72nd-hole blunder at Winged Foot in 2006, when Geoff Ogilvy capitalized for the win; Angel Cabrera's chain-smoking victory at Oakmont in 2007; Woods' dramatic playoff triumph on one leg in 2008; and last year's rain-soaked, five-day marathon at Bethpage Black, where Lucas Glover scratched out his first major win.
With those finishes in mind, we like Watson in a Tuesday playoff over Westwood and 18-year-old Ishikawa, with Woods missing a three-footer for a spot in the playoff and Mickelson coming in dead last.
Emily Tubert wins her first national championship.
South Bend, IN (Sports Network) - Emily Tubert defeated Lisa McCloskey, 3 & 2, in Saturday's 36-hole final to win the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.
Tubert, 18, used an amazing run on the front nine during the first 18 holes to take a commanding lead. She was 2-down after a McCloskey birdie at the fifth, but Tubert won the next seven holes to move 5-up and played those seven holes in five-under par.
McCloskey made up one hole and was 4-down at the break at the Warren Golf Course at Notre Dame. continue>>
Oakmont, PA (Sports Network) - Paula Creamer played the final 23 holes of the U.S. Women's Open at two-under par Sunday, more than enough to earn her first major championship.
Creamer closed with a two-under 69 and was the only player to finish in red figures at Oakmont Country Club as she claimed her ninth LPGA Tour title. She ended at three-under-par 281, four strokes clear of Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen. continue>>
Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) - Lion Kim defeated David McDaniel, 6 & 5 in Saturday's 36-hole final of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Bryan Park.
There was a nearly seven-hour weather delay, but, at 9:06 p.m. (et), Kim holed the winning putt for his first USGA title.
Kim was 2-up through 12 holes on Saturday when the horn sounded, stopping play. After a second storm rolled through the area, the delay lasted even longer, but just before 5:00 p.m., the championship resumed and Kim pounced. continue>>
Ada, MI (Sports Network) - Jim Liu earned a 4 & 2 victory over Justin Thomas on Saturday to become the youngest winner in the history of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.
Liu rallied from an early deficit and never trailed after the seventh hole of their scheduled 36-hole match play final.
The 14-year-old from Smithtown, N.Y., beat Tiger Woods' record to become the youngest winner in championship history.
Woods, who won three straight U.S. Juniors from 1991-93, set the previous mark at 15 years, six months and 28 days when he captured his first championship. Liu doesn't turn 15 until the middle of August. continue>>
Doris Chen won the title after making the stroke-play cut on Tuesday.
Village of Pinehurst, NC (Sports Network) - Doris Chen defeated Katelyn Dambaugh, 3 & 2, on Saturday to win the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.
Chen, a 17-year-old from Bradenton, Fla., wrapped up the victory when both players birdied the par-three 16th at The Country Club of North Carolina. It was the 34th hole of their scheduled 36-hole match play final.
Riding a wave of momentum that increased throughout the week, Chen won the title after making the stroke-play cut on Tuesday by only a shot. It marked her second consecutive strong showing at the championship following a semifinal loss in 2009. continue>>
Meghan Stasi clinched the match with a par on the last hole.
Wichita, KS (Sports Network) - Meghan Stasi defeated Carol Robertson, 2-up, on Thursday to capture the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur for a record-tying third time.
Stasi, a 32-year-old from Oakland Park, Fla., never trailed in the scheduled 18-hole final at Wichita Country Club. She clinched the match with a par on the last hole, becoming just the third player to win this championship three times.
"To have three is incredible," Stasi said. "The win today ranks up there with all the other wins. It's been an incredible journey." continue>>
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Paul Simson defeated stroke-play medalist Pat Tallent, 2 & 1, to win the USGA Senior Amateur Championship on Thursday for his third national title of the year.
Simson never trailed in the 18-hole final at Lake Nona, but he needed to fend off a late rally from Tallent, a familiar opponent, to win the championship.
A four-foot birdie putt at No. 9 gave Simson a 4-up lead around the turn. He protected that advantage for three holes until Tallent knocked his tee shot at the par-three 13th to six feet for a birdie. continue>>
Fort Myers, FL (Sports Network) - Mina Hardin defeated Alexandra Frazier, 2 & 1 on Thursday to win the USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship at Fiddlesticks Country Club.
This was the first USGA victory for Hardin, 50, but ended a great run from Frazier.
She was the last qualifier for the match-play portion of the championship and knocked off medalist Leigh Klasse on Monday, then knocked off defending champion Shelly Herman on Wednesday. Frazier could've been the first No. 64 seed to win a USGA championship, but Hardin was too much for her on Thursday. continue>>
Buenos Aires, Argentina (Sports Network) - South Korea etched its name into the record book Saturday en route to a huge victory at the Women's World Amateur Team Championship.
The team shot a five-under 139 in the final round and finished at 30-under 546 to establish a new tournament scoring record, obliterating the former mark of 558 set by the United States in 1998.
The South Koreans won by an eye-opening 17 strokes over the U.S., but their margin of victory only tied the second-largest ever in championship history. The '98 American team won by a shocking 21 shots. continue>>