If you follow the PGA Tour, you've heard the statistic: Of the 12 tournaments in which Tiger Woods has held or has shared the lead entering the final round, he has won 11. Who beat him? Yours truly. Tiger had me by a stroke going into Sunday's round at the 1996 Quad City Classic at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Ill., but I had a few tricks up my sleeve.
?On the 1st tee I asked Tiger to sign my cap. I told him my kids were big fans of his and were about the same age. I then asked him how old he was, and when he said 20, I said, "Wow, you were just one when I started playing on the Tour."
?Every time Tiger's shot with a wedge ended up outside my four-iron, I would tell him, "Nice shot." I could see this was very demoralizing to him. To make sure I wasn't intimidated by his length, I looked away while he boomed 300-yard drives I can only dream about.
?On the 4th hole that day at Oakwood, Tiger pull-hooked his drive into the water, took a drop, hit it in the drink again and made a Quad City quadruple-bogey 8. There were so many people following him, I couldn't see how many strokes he had taken until I got to the next tee and the standard-bearer changed the red number next to his name from an 11 to a 7. Suddenly leading by one, I started whistling the tune I Got a Tiger by the Tail.
Of course, Tiger was just a cub back then, and Quad City was only his third start as a pro. These days he probably could beat me with only his five-iron, but I still tell my buddies about the day I got him. I don't have a trophy of a tiger in my den, but I do have a 27-foot catamaran—the toy I bought with my $216,000 winner's check—outside my house in Matagorda, Texas. Every time I take it out on the water, I say, "Thanks, Tiger."