A special occasion, the Millennium Open at St Andrews, deserved a special performance and Tiger Woods delivered it to perfection, establishing himself as an irresistible force in the game.
Having won the US Open at Pebble Beach by 15 strokes, he went on to win The Open by eight strokes in equally dominant fashion in front of a record gallery of over 230,000 for the week.
While conditions were benign, Woods was in total control of his game. At Pebble he had avoided three-putting the glassy greens. On the Old Course, renowned for its tiny, hidden traps, he did not go in a single bunker. There were three bogeys, but none came until the weekend when he had a comfortable lead.
His 19-under-par tally was a record for any major and his total of 269 a record for Opens at St Andrews. His winning margin was the largest in The Open since JH Taylor won by eight in 1913.
Ernie Els led on the first day with a 66 but Woods was only one behind. His own 66 on Friday put Tiger three ahead and a 67 in the third round doubled that advantage.
David Duval birdied four of the first seven holes to get within three on Sunday, but he got no closer. Later he took an 8 at the 17th after four attempts to escape the Road Hole Bunker, leaving Els, also a runner-up at Pebble, and Thomas Bjorn sharing second place.
Woods, who closed with a 69, was the third Champion after Greg Norman and Nick Price to have four rounds under 70 and, at the age of 24, followed Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus in winning all four of the majors. “To have the opportunity to complete the Slam at St Andrews makes it even more special,” Woods said.