Even by his standards, Tiger's back nine was legendary. ESPN just ran a "Tiger's Top Ten" shots in majors; the chip-in and the 70-foot putt for eagle made the list, and the 30-foot eagle on 18 did not because his approach shot was so good. Those putts combined for about twelve feet of break he had to read - no simple task. Cutting five strokes in a back nine is remarkable enough; doing it when you eagle twice, in a hundred feet of putts, after missing both fairways is ridiculous. And only made more so by doing it at the U.S. Open, where the rough is so tall there are still a few golfers missing after they went looking for their ball two years ago. Add to that Tiger's statement that he gets unpredictable shooting pain in his knee after shots, and his admission that his knee has gotten progressively worse this week, and his feat on the back nine yesterday was the stuff of legend. It was the kind of performance that, should he win today, people will be holding up to the light for many years to come as an example of courage, moxie, and singular will and ability in sports.
Tiger Woods is better and more dominant at his craft than any other athlete in history has been at theirs. Comparing athletes, eras, and sports is a difficult task, but consider this: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are ranked #1 and #2 in the world. There is as much difference in points between Tiger and Phil as there is between Phil and the 171st-ranked golfer, Chris DeMarco. There's no one even close. Not even in the same solar system.