Tiger Woods, 2008
Tiger's hobbled win at Torrey Pines was epic from start to finish, but his birdie on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Rocco Mediate was a career-defining moment, and like so many classic Tiger moments, it came complete with an awkward Stevie Williams high-five. The 2008 U.S. Open remains Woods' last major championship win.
Tiger Woods, 2000
Tiger dismantled Pebble Beach, beating the world's best by 15 shots in the greatest performance of his career — or anyone else's for that matter. Ernie Els, who finished tied for second at 3-over, remarked that, "When he's on, we don't have much of a chance." Woods was most assuredly on; it was his first of an unprecedented four consecutive major wins.
Payne Stewart, 1999
Stewart's clinching putt was so iconic, they made a statue out of it that stands today at Pinehurst near the 18th green. Four months after Stewart's greatest triumph, he was dead, the victim of a tragic lear jet accident. This rundown of the down-the-stretch duel between Stewart and Phil Mickelson recalls just how tight and tense that Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2 really was. It's a story that will be revisited frequently as the players return to Pinehurst for the 2014 Open.
Corey Pavin, 1995
Pavin's heroic 4-wood to the 72nd hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club clinched his U.S. Open win over Greg Norman, the only major of Pavin's career but one of countless heartbreaks for Norman.
Curtis Strange, 1989
With his win at Oak Hill, Strange became the first player to win back-to-back U.S. Opens since Ben Hogan (1950-51), though he had an assist from Tom Kite, who held a three-shot lead early in the final round before ballooning to a 78. Strange's final-round even-par 70 was enough to hold off a trio of challengers by a single stroke. Strange remains the last player to defend his U.S. Open title successfully.
Tom Watson, 1982
Watson snatched the 1982 Open at Pebble Beach away from Jack Nicklaus with this improbable chip-in at 17 from gnarly rough. A contender for the greatest shot in major championship history, the shot was merely the culmination of an awesome day of golf for both players. Nicklaus posted five straight birdies at one point on his way to a final-round 69, while Watson added a birdie at 18 to finish with a 2-under 70.