Let me set the stage for you. Rocco Mediate had just shot a 1-under 35 coming home at the 2008 US Open. Tiger Woods trailed by one stroke and was 1 over on the back nine. He stood at the lengthy par-5 18th hole at Torrey Pines needing an eagle for his 14th major and a birdie for the tie and playoff. He hit a bad tee shot into the sand.
Then he hit his layup into the rough about 100 yards from the pin.
That's where Steve Williams picks up the story in his new book, Out of the Rough. Jaime Diaz pulled this little nugget in a fun post on Golf Digest, and I found it fascinating.
Before Woods’ third shot to the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, in which Williams lied about the yardage in order to help convince Woods to hit a hard lob wedge rather than a sand wedge: “Tiger, you have to absolutely trust me on this one. And if I’m wrong, fire me. I know how much this means to you, so if I’m wrong just fire me.”
You can actually watch the exchange at 7:30 in the video below. I can't hear him say those words, but the camera and mics likely didn't pick up everything. Woods does seem to go after it pretty hard, though.
Can you imagine lying to Tiger Woods about his yardage on the final hole of a major? How big are your stones if you do that?
Regardless, Williams' tales continue to fascinate. From comparing himself to a slave to how he found out about Woods' affairs to this, there's nobody who's had a better front seat to history over the last decade plus.