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Johnnie Walker golf returned to Phuket, but without Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods and Phuket: The Secret Revealed

Friday, December 18, 2009
PHUKET is just like Tiger Woods, the best in the world at what it does in many respects, but also full of dark secrets.

There's an odd connection between the island and the world's number one golfer, who this week was declared ''the athlete of the decade'' for his prowess on the golf course (his after-dark scorecards are still being collated.)

Island golfers know the oft-told legend, that Tiger sang the praises of the Blue Canyon course after winning the Johnnie Walker Classic on Phuket in 1998.

Tiger shot a brilliant 65 on the last day to ensure a play-off for the title with South African Ernie Els, which he won.

Coming from an amazing eight strokes back on the final day, it's little wonder that Tiger fell for what is still the island's best course, although these days Red Mountain is growing in popularity.

However, we didn't know that Tiger had been to Phuket to play Blue Canyon years earlier. Back in 1991, we learned, Tiger first played the course as a 16-year-old amateur and shot 71, a record for an amateur that the site, which disclosed the feat, says has never been beaten.

Yoshikazu Kato, the designer of the Blue Canyon course, told Angshuman Deb Barma that during the Johnnie Walker, Tiger also became the first golfer to make a ''one-on'' shot at the 13th hole.

''No one had ever done a 'one-on' on this hole and when Tiger did it we decided to name it the Tiger Hole,'' Kato said.

''And you will be surprised to know that only one player has been able to repeat that feat since then, which really shows how difficult the hole is.''

Tiger's amazing victory in 1998 remains probably his most amazing comeback.

Having finished his final round well before the leaders, various reports say he was rushed back to the course after Ernie Els bogeyed the 17th.

Tiger had been watching the tournament on television for almost two hours. Ernie made a 14-foot birdie putt on the eighteenth just to get into the playoff with the surprised Tiger.

''It was amazing (to watch). I figured somebody had to make a move but it didn't happen,'' Tiger said.

At the practice grounds, Tiger was unable to find any balls, so he only took a handful of practice swings.

''I was pretty nervous on the greens because I hadn't had any practice putting,'' Woods said.

''When I warmed up, I hit the ball as hard as I could to get the adrenaline in my system going.''

In the end, they only played two play off holes, the 18th hole each time. Tiger won by sinking in a 14-foot birdie putt, much to the crowd's delight, and much to Ernie's disappointment.

Tiger's Thai mother rushed to embrace him on the green.

''It was really amazing what Tiger did,'' Ernie Els said. Yes . . . and how true that comment remains today.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


5555 so Tiger has been coming to Phuket since he was a teen, and now as an adult is a sex addict.... I wonder if there is any relation?

Editor: Well there's a Tiger bar close to Soi Bangla.

Posted by ha on December 18, 2009 13:29

Thursday August 11, 2022
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