Woods sat down with USA TODAY Sports to discuss his new book which details his amazing run in the 1997 Masters.
USA TODAY Sports
It was late January, and a guy at the bar was watching Tiger Woods. He began screaming at the television, telling Woods to retire, that he had no business being on a course with other professional golfers.
I shook my head. I will watch Woods as long as he can lift a club. Someone once wrote that greatness has a magnetism that often outlives its source, and that’s certainly the case with the world’s former top-ranked player.
Woods provided a treasure box of memories over the years: the Tiger Slam, the famous chip at the Masters; obliterating the field at Augusta as a 21-year old; and winning the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on one leg, when his former caddy recalled “the sickening click of bones” in his damaged knee.
But for me, the most awesome spectacle of covering Woods was how his presence on the leaderboard or in a pairing dramatically changed the competition. Woods’ reign of dominance was spectacular to observers. To competitors, it was horrifying and intimidating.
There was also a time when Woods was actually approachable. Remember the 1999 Waste Management Phoenix Open, where a heckler was arrested for his behavior while following Woods around the course? I approached Woods in the press room after that round, and asked if he was aware that the man was carrying a gun.
His eyes widened. He had no idea. The news shook him up, and it was no coincidence that he rarely played the tournament in the following decade.
Woods isn’t the same player or person he once was. But it was sure fun while it lasted.