Redington/Getty Images Tiger Woods and Casey Martin will play a practice round together on Tuesday at Olympic.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO — There could be a bit of a score to settle on Tuesday when Casey Martin tees it up with his former college teammate, Tiger Woods, in a practice round for the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
Martin was a senior at Stanford when Woods was a freshman. He and Notah Begay used to team up against Woods and Conrad Ray, who now is the head coach at Stanford, in putting contests after practice was over. A little cash was usually on the line.
"One day we had a match and Notah and I — probably thanks to Notah — in a team match got up a little bit and Tiger said, hey, we were leaving the next day on a trip," Martin recalls. "And he says I’ll come out and let me try to earn it back. He might have been down 40 bucks or something."
So the two teams met again, and Martin’s putter was hot. Woods kept upping the ante, and in the end, Martin ended up winning $190 — "which is a lot for a college kid," he noted. Turns out, Woods paid by check and in response to a tongue-in-cheek question, Martin noted "it cleared."
"And it says to Casey Martin from Tiger Woods 190, $192," Martin said. "So I Xeroxed it, sent it home, my mother cashed it but then she put it in the scrapbook so it’s official. You can come track it down. It happened. And you know, it may never happen again, but it definitely did happen."
So will Martin give Woods a chance to make his money back on Tuesday?
"I will," he said with a smile. "… But I know that it’s tough to get that wallet out. So at least that’s what I’ve been told. So I’m going to give my best tomorrow to get in there."
Even when Woods was a freshman, Martin says he made the other Cardinal golfers "look like we were beginners — honestly." Martin, who now coaches at the University of Oregon and qualified for the U.S. Open last week, says he remains a huge fan of his former teammate.
"I love watching him play, love the way he competes," Martin said. "Anxious to get out there and actually watch it live tomorrow and Wednesday and so I’m just thrilled to be in this tournament with him and the rest of these guys. Just trying to enjoy it."
Martin, who is now 40, sees tremendous talent at the college and amateur tournaments he attends around the country each year. But that doesn’t mean he’s found the heir-apparent.
"No disrespect to anybody that I’ve seen, but there’s no one even close that was like Tiger that I have seen personally," Martin said. "There’s some great players out there. Some kids that you’re going to see coming up out of the college and amateur ranks, junior ranks that are phenomenal players and American golf I think is in great, great hands going forward with some great kids.
"But I don’t see any Tiger Woods."
- Tiger Woods
- Casey Martin