ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA (AP) – They could have given him his own exhibit, wing, or even floor if they had wanted to. It wouldn’t have been exorbitant given Tiger Woods’ unrivaled influence.
However, by the end of the summer, his presence in the World Golf Hall of Fame will be confined to this faux wood locker on the second level of the Lobby & Exhibits building.
Woods’ locker is a foot wide, 6 feet tall, and 2 feet deep, much like every other inductee’s. The few objects kept there are protected behind a plexiglass wall for posterity. While other members’ lockers are adorned with personal touches, Woods’ only sentimental item is a signed ball from his first PGA Tour appearance, the 1992 L.A. Open. A TW hat and belt, a box of Bridgestone balls (with a TIGER ball on show), a Monster Energy water bottle, a blue Nike polo, and a full-size staff bag loaded with lightly used TaylorMade equipment and a white GolfTV towel draped over the front are all nods to his global brand.
On the inside panel, a one-paragraph brief aims to neatly encapsulate both his career achievements (82 wins, 14-1 major closing rate, 683 weeks as world No. 1) and his work through his TGR Foundation (2 million students reached). A fun fact is printed at the foot of the page: Tiger Woods was voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ at Western High School.
That’s a great idea.
Woods, former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Susie Maxwell Berning, and the late Marion Hollins will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday at the PGA Tour’s headquarters. His Hall of Fame exhibit (two-day ticket: $20.95) has been on display in the World Golf Village, 25 miles south, since December 4.
Some of Woods’ belongings are strewn about the Hall. In the Team Gallery, you can see his Ryder Cup yardage book, polo, and putter headcover. Woods’ first victory, at the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational, is commemorated by a $297,00 check. (That’s how much T-11 paid out at Bay Hill last week.) Tiger, I appreciate it.) His Waterford Crystal trophy, which he won in 2001, is on display in THE PLAYERS collection.
The major display, however, is located in Shell Hall’s far-left corner, with iconic tournament calls from Jim Nantz and Dan Hicks resonating across the vast space.
Last year, the Hall’s memorabilia curator reached out to Woods’ team, requesting a list of “important” exhibit artifacts (on loan until June 30).
“We were a little nervous,” Jess Munroe, director of guest services at the Hall, recalled, “but he blew us away.”
A single glass cage is given to the majority of inductees. Maybe two if they had a particularly noteworthy career. Woods has three, which is widely regarded as the most space ever devoted to a new induction.
Berning proudly displayed her 1968 Oklahoma Sportsman of the Month award, among other things. Finchem chose an honorary degree from University College Dublin, a 2002 Greater New York March of Dimes luncheon Sports Leadership Award, and commemorative knives from the 2004 Ryder Cup. A gold-plated scorecard from the 1929 Opening Day exhibition match at Pasatiempo with Bobby Jones, Cyril Tolley, and Glenna Collett is among Hollins’ belongings.
Meanwhile, Woods’ collection consists of… well, where do I begin?
There are the obvious choices, the ones that any golf fan will recognize. The left case contains his amateur medals; the middle case contains a replica Scotty Cameron putter recognizing his “Tiger Slam”; the right case contains the Zozo trophy (his record-tying 82nd Tour victory) and a signed 2019 Masters flag.
Even more intriguing are a few of the lesser-known objects, which were either requested from the Hall or supplied by Woods (or his mother, Tida) and relate a few lesser-known stories about his golfing prowess.
His hole-in-one ball plaque from Heartwell Golf Park in Long Beach is from 1982.
The City of Cypress issued a decree in 1983 praising Tiger’s precocious golfing prowess and sending “Best Wishes for all the years to come” to the then-7-year-old Tiger.
Woods received a carry bag after winning the 12-13 age category at the Yorba Linda Junior Invitational in 1989.
There’s a plaque on his wall that says he was the MVP of Western High School in 1992.
The “TV Guide” from June 9-15, 2000, has a collector’s edition recognizing Woods’ “chance at making history” ahead of the Pebble Beach Open. (How did it work out?)
There’s his Masters player accreditation (number 88, with a dated headshot) from his unlikely victory in 2019.
With the exception of a Tiger-only wing, those three displays provide a thorough overview of his career. From his bold start to his dominant peak to his inspiring conclusion, it’s all there. There don’t appear to be any obvious gaps.
A display honoring Woods’ brief but illustrious Stanford career may be found in the main foyer on the way out. The highlight is then-coach Wally Goodwin’s first recruiting letter to Woods, who was only 13 years old at the time.
“Dear ‘Tiger,’!” says the narrator. Goodwin got things started by emphasizing the importance of Woods’ academics. Courses for advanced students. A 3.6 grade point average. A minimum SAT score of 1200 is required.
“I’m looking for a couple of tough kids who can win!” Goodwin penned the piece.
All he discovered was the most successful player in Tour history, who is now inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.