Sergeant Makes Birdie Putt for Tiger in Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am
By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service
BETHESDA, Md., July 5, 2007 A soldier from Fort Belvoir, Va., celebrated the Fourth of July by making the shot of the day in the star-studded Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am at Congressional Country Club here. (Video)
Sgt. Michael Woods of Army Materiel Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., shows Tiger Woods the line for his putt on the seventh hole of the Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md, July 4, 2007. Sergeant Woods was Tiger’s honorary caddie for the hole. Tiger eventually handed the putter to the sergeant, who made the 12-footer for a birdie and a memory that will last a lifetime. Photo by Tim Hipps
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Tournament host Tiger Woods has gone out of his way this week to honor servicemen and women at the AT&T National PGA Tour event. He named the Pro-Am in honor of his late father, a 20-year Army veteran. He donated 30,000 tournament tickets to active-duty military personnel.
Army Sgt. Maj. Mia Kelly, of the 1st Information Operations Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Master Sgt. Andy Amor, of Andrews Air Force Base, Md., played the Pro-Am in Woods’ foursome.
But another Woods stole the show on the seventh hole.
Sgt. Michael Woods of the Army Materiel Command was selected to be Tiger’s honorary caddie for just one hole.
As Tiger lined up his birdie putt, he turned to his caddie.
“He asked me to put the bag down and called me over to him, and he asked me: ‘What do you see?’” the sergeant said. “I said: ‘Fairway leans to the right; you should hit it to the left.’ And he said: ‘Here you go.’”
“Show me,” Tiger said as he handed his trusty putter to Sergeant Woods, who promptly knocked down the 12-footer.
And the gallery went wild.
“I think it means a lot to a lot of people,” Sergeant Woods, 32, said of Tiger’s military support. “This is our independence and the birth of our nation, so it was really cool that he put this event on and allowed the military to be a part of it.”
Tiger said he was honored to be surrounded by servicemen and women.
“I grew up with the military – grew up playing golf on a military base,” he said. “That’s where my home golf course was. So being around Mia and Andy and being around our armed services is what I am comfortable with.
“This is what it’s all about. They do so much for us that part of the general public doesn’t really understand or relate to, so for them to go out there and give of themselves and the commitment it takes for them to do what they do, we really wanted to say ‘thank you,’ and this is our small way of saying thank you.”
Sergeant Woods learned at 5:15 a.m. yesterday that he would caddie for Tiger.
“I knew that I would be out here somewhere with a professional golfer; I just didn’t know which one,” he said. “I’ve been playing golf a little bit, trying to get decent at it, and that was probably the best putt I’ve ever seen in my life.
“I'm nervous right now,” Sergeant Woods continued. “I'm shaking.”
The word around Congressional was that Woods gave the putter to the soldier.
“No, I stole it back,” Tiger said. “It’s got 11 majors in it.”
Either way, Tiger made this July 4 one that many soldiers will never forget, particularly Sergeant Woods.
“This is a day I'll remember forever,” he said.
(Tim Hipps works for the U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.)