Five hundred years of legend and lore hardly prepared golf's hallowed home for Tiger Woods.
On the same linksland that Old Tom Morris nurtured and Jack Nicklaus conquered, along came a 24-year-old with a keen eye for history.
Woods not only became the youngest player to win the career Grand Slam, he completed it faster than any of the four greats who did it before him.
The final piece came Sunday, when Woods held the silver claret jug under the cool, gray skies of St. Andrews after another record-breaking performance to win the British Open.
"It's the ultimate," Woods said. "This is the home of golf. This is where you always want to win. To have a chance to complete the slam at St. Andrews is pretty special. I was able to bring it home."
Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to complete a career Grand Slam with a win at the British Open Sunday. (CBS SportsLine)
Challenged briefly by David Duval, Woods pulled away for an eight-stroke victory. It wasn't quite as overwhelming as his 15-stroke victory in the U.S. Open last month, but it was the largest in 87 years of golf's oldest championship.
As CBS News correspondent Tom Fenton reports, Woods seems to be operating on a higher plane.
"Already they are talking about him playing against himself," said sports author Michael Mewshaw. "That he's going out not looking over his shoulder seeing what other people are doing but setting his goals, and trying to achieve them and playing against himself."
Perhaps Tom Watson, the only man to win a British Open at five courses but never at St. Andrews, summed it up best.
"He is something supernatural," Watson said. "He has raised the bar to a level that only he can jump."
Hundreds of daring fans tried to leap over the burn on the 18th fairway to watch Woods finish off his latest masterpiece. He didn't disappoint them, making a par on the final hole for a 69 that set another benchmark for years to come.
He finished at 19-under 269, the lowest score in relation to par ever at a major championship and the best score ever at St. Andrews.
Asked if he as good as he can ge, Woods said: "No, no, no no. Definitely not."
He became the first player to win all four majors since Jack Nicklaus' victory in the 1966 British Open at age 26.
Having won three of the last four majors, Woods seems to be racing toward the record that matters the most - the 18 majors Nicklaus won in a career that remains the standard.
"He is the chosen one. He's the best player who has played the game right now," said Mark Calcavecchia, who stuck around St. Andrews to watch history in the making. "If Jack was in his prime today, I don't think he could keep up with Tiger."
Comparing eras is never easy, but Woods' performance in the majors stands alone.
Woods won the British Open by eight strokes over Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn, the largest margin of victory in the British Open since 1913, when J.H. Taylor won by eight strokes over Ted Ray.
Woods became only the second British Open champion to win with four rounds in the 60s, and he beat by one stroke the record Nick Faldo set at St. Andrews in 1990.
"The guy is simply in a different league," Faldo said.
Woods also became the first player since Watson in 1982 to win the U.S. and British Opens in the same year, and the first since Nicklaus in 1972 to own three major championships at the same time.
Woods now goes to the PGA Championship with a chance to join Ben Hogan as the only players to win three majors in one year.
Els also set a record the first player to finish second in three straight majors. He now has been runner-up to Woods six times, more than any other player.
Els shot a 69, while Bjorn closed with a 71 to finish at 277.
But the real challenge came from Duval, No. 2 in the world ranking behind Woods. It was the first time they were paired together in the final group of a final round in a major championship, no less.
Duval went out in 32 and was only three strokes back until Woods, perhaps sensing history slipping away, poured it on with birdies on three of the next four holes.
Meanwhile, Duval crumbled. He was playing for second until hitting into the notorious Road Hole bunker on No. 17 and taking four shots to get out. He finished with a 75.
"As good as everything turned on the front nine was as bad as everything turned on the back," Duval said.
"He simply didn't make mistakes, and he capitalized on the holes you expect to capitalize on. It was a spectacular performance, to say the least."
The other players to win the Grand Slam were Gene Sarazen in 1935, Hogan in 1953, Gary Player in 1965 and Nicklaus in '66 at Muirfield. Nicklaus went on to win the Gran Slam two more times.
"They've been the elite players to ever play the game," Woods said. "And to be in the same breath as those guys, it makes it very special."