June 10, 2024

If someone said prime Tiger Woods was so good at golf, he could win on one leg – it would sound like an expression.


But when it comes to the 2008 US Open, it is closer to a matter of fact.

Woods winning the US Open in 2008 is one of the most remarkable stories in golf history

Woods winning the US Open in 2008 is one of the most remarkable stories in golf history

Indeed, Woods was so much better than everyone else that his biggest challenge often came from his own body.


Hollywood actor Will Ferrell ironically put it best when pretending to be Woods at an ESPY Awards ceremony after the 2008 US Open.


“All I did was purposely sever my ACL and broke a bone in my leg. And you know what – I still won the US Open,” Ferrell said.

“That’s when even I started to believe. It’s undeniable, I am the greatest.”

Funny as the speech was, Woods’ ex-caddie Steve Williams has since revealed the golfer’s injuries that year were perhaps self-inflicted, and he fought through them in pursuit of greatness.


Woods showed up at Torrey Pines in 2008 with two stress fractures in his tibia and a knee which required surgical reconstruction a week later.


The American trained alongside Navy SEALS as part of his military obsession and Williams has previously claimed this contributed to his rotten injury record.


Speaking about the build-up to the 2008 US Open, Williams said on a documentary: “Tiger was in immense pain with his knee and when the scope his knee out they discover he has no ACL.

Woods is no stranger to playing through the pain barrier

Woods is no stranger to playing through the pain barrier.

“The doctors say to him you’re going to need major reconstruction. But it’s Tiger. He says ‘F**** that. I’m going to deal with that later’. And he kept training. And of course he gets two fractures in his leg.


“I remember thinking you’ve brought it upon yourself. Self-inflicted. The doctors say to him you’re going to be out of the game for a while but he’s got the 2008 US Open looming. Can he win a major and be one step closer to breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record? Jack’s sitting on 18 majors and Tiger needs to eclipse that mark to prove he’s the greatest player of all time.


“There wasn’t anything to stop him. Two fractures in his leg and an ACL.”


Williams added: “I could see the look on his face, the agony he was going through. We all looked at each other and thought, ‘He has no right to be playing in the US Open’.”

Woods famously fought through the pain barrier to win the event against all odds, claiming his 14th major title in the process.


He writhed through a gruelling four days, making an iconic putt on the 72nd hole and then beating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole play-off.

Williams remembers one specific moment during the second round when he pleaded with Woods to withdraw from the event after hearing a crack in his knee.

But the response he got was unforgettable.

“As he went to hit the ball, his foot slipped out and I heard the crack in his knee,” Williams said.

“I just saw the look in his eyes. It was like he’d just been shot.

“I said to him ‘Hey Tiger, you might be jeopardising your career here. Maybe this is the time to quit’. And I’ll never forget… he looks and me and he goes ‘Stevie, f*** you. I’m winning this tournament’.”


It would be Woods’ last major victory for 11 years, before the 2019 Masters, as a host of personal scandals and injury problems derailed his glittering career.


These days, he is still competing in majors despite the lingering affects of a near-fatal car accident in 2021.


Woods, now 48, remains stuck on 15 majors, three behind the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

But one can only imagine what he would have done, and perhaps still could do, with a healthy body.

  • US Open – Golf
  • Tiger Woods

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