AUGUSTA, Ga. – This is one competition Tiger Woods doesn’t mind losing. He’s playing in the Par 3 Tournament at the Masters.
Woods typically skips the Wednesday afternoon tradition at Augusta National. But he had a couple of reasons to play this year.
One is named Sam. The other is Charlie.
Woods said his daughter and son would be caddying for him Wednesday afternoon. Seven-year-old Sam and 6-year-old Charlie were at Augusta National on Tuesday, going onto the green at the practice area with Woods’ girlfriend, Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn.
“My two little ones are going to be out there with me,” Woods said about the Par 3. “It’s special. As I said, this tournament means so much to me in so many different ways.”
He looked back to 1997, when his father nearly died of heart issues at the start of the year, and then was behind the 18th green for a bear hug when Woods polished off his record-shattering victory at the Masters.
“To now have come full circle and to have a chance to have my kids out there and be able to share that with them, it’s special,” Woods said. “Charlie has seen me win a golf tournament before. Sam, actually she was there at the U.S. Open in 2008, but doesn’t remember it. It’s nice to be able to share these things with my family and it just means the world to me. They are excited, I’m excited and can’t wait to go out there.”
Winning the Par 3, however, is the last thing he wants to do.
No one has ever won the Par 3 and the Masters in the same week.
“I had an opportunity to do that once, remember that?” Woods said.
That would be the last time he played. He shot a 4-under 23 in 2004 and got into a three-way playoff with Padraig Harrington and Eduardo Romero.
“It was raining,” Woods said with a smile. “Didn’t show up for the playoff.”
Harrington wound up winning.
Woods recalls making birdie after birdie in the Par 3 and having a chance to win another year.
“And for some reason, the wind came up and I hit two balls in the water,” Woods said to laughter. “Just so happened to be that way. Just one of those weird things.”
Does that mean he’s superstitious about the legend of Par 3 winners never winning a green jacket in the same year?
“Yeah, no one’s ever done it,” he said. “I don’t want to prove it wrong, so just have a good time.”