Part of playing sports as a kid is practicing while you’re pretending you’re the hero: the walk-off homer to win the World Series, the diving catch in the end zone, or a six-footer to win the Masters. In “My Game: Tiger Woods,” produced by GOLFTV and Golf Digest, Tiger says he did it, too. The funny thing is, now he’s the mythical opponent who kids across the globe play against. A putt to beat Tiger.
“Whether it was the imaginary 18th green at Augusta National with a one-shot lead or trying to get into a playoff or win the U.S. Open, we’ve all put ourselves in those scenarios,” Tiger says in Episode 11 of his new series, “My Game: Tiger Woods.” “The cool thing is, I got to live it.”
Of course, Tiger was more than a dreamer, even at an early age. He seemed to know from the start there are no shortcuts to success. Now he looks back with perspective: “If you put in hard work, more than likely you’re going to get results,” he says. “But if you don’t put the work in, not only are you not going to get the results, you don’t deserve them. You didn’t go out there and earn it.”
Tiger had a head start. He shot 48 for nine holes at age 3 and broke 80 as an 8-year-old. As he describes in Episode 11 of his new series, the challenges of golf drew him in, and he loved it. “I’ve always known golf, it was always a part of my life,” Tiger says. “I liked following Dad around, I liked hitting balls with him. I loved going out in the evening with Pops, and I loved practicing.”
As ordinary as that might sound, Tiger’s dreams of the big stage, like the one he concurred at the Masters this year, or the Zozo Championship last week to tie Sam Snead’s all-time PGA Tour wins record, came with more than a hint of what was to come. “I was never afraid to put myself in those scenarios in all the games I played,” he says. “I always envisioned myself being there. I didn’t know when it was going to happen, I didn’t know how I was going to handle it, but I envisioned myself in those positions.”
For more recollections from Tiger on his early years in golf, watch the full episode. Click here to sign up for the entire 12-part “My Game: Tiger Woods” series (in the U.S., China and Korea) or click here for the rest of the world.