During his peak, Tiger Woods was a stone-cold killer. On Sundays he'd stroll onto the range knowing he already had you beat, and his competitors knew it too. Woods was all business, all the time. After saying hello and good luck on the first tee, chances are that'd be the last interaction his opponent had with him until the 18th green.
Many believe that the 15-time major champion has softened with age, which, judging by his actions during his latest comeback, appears to be true. But as Tony Finau came to find out, Woods can still revert to his old self when he's in the mix on a major championship Sunday.
Finau was in the final group at the Masters last April, playing alongside Woods and 54-hole leader Francesco Molinari. That type of environment would be a thrill for any pro, but it was even more so for Finau, who first watched the Masters in 1997, when a 21-year-old Woods won by 12 shots. Now, 22 years later, he was tied at 11 under through three rounds with his idol.
As Finau told GOLFTV, he and Woods exchanged "good luck"s on the first tee, and that was all the two said to each other up until the seventh hole. That's when Finau thought it was time to try to make small talk, and boy, he thought wrong. We'll let Tony take it from here.
"We get to hole seven, I'm walking off the tee, we're right next to each other so I figure I better say 'hi' or say something to him" said Finau. "I said 'hey, Tiger, how's the family" How's the kids?' And he looked at me pretty straight faced and he said, 'They're good.' And he kept walking, and I never talked to him again until I was congratulating him on the 18th green."
Incredible story. Finau's obviously not the first to experience Sunday-in-contention Tiger, but after a year-plus of Woods showing a softer side to, as he calls them, "the guys," this had to still be a little startling. Here's the video of Finau's retelling:
Hey, at least Woods said something. Ten or 15 years ago he might have ignored Finau entirely.
To the surprise of no one, Woods went on to birdie the par-4 seventh hole, then the par-5 eighth, a two-hole stretch that sparked his eventual victory. Finau may not have gotten a green jacket, but he's got an all-time Tiger tale to tell the rest of his life.
Originally Appeared on Golf Digest