From Chicken Soup for the Golfer's Soul The Second Round

The Passing of the Mantle

If you think Tiger Woods was under a lot of pressure when he won the 1997 Masters, or when he won three U.S. Amateurs, or when he outgunned Sergio Garcia to win the 1999 PGA Championship, just consider the pressure he felt at the PGA Tour’s 1997 Awards Dinner.

He was awarded the Arnold Palmer Award by the Great Man himself, and as he approached the podium, Palmer stopped Woods in his tracks—and sent a chill through the audience.

“Wait right there, ” Palmer said, motioning to Woods to pause. “I have something to say. You have an enormous responsibility. When I think of when I started playing this Tour so long ago and how much it’s changed, it is amazing. I think we should be thankful, but we should also be careful. Remember how we got here and the guys who helped get us here. You guys are playing for so much money. Always remember that you have an obligation to protect the integrity and traditions of the game. It is important. When I see bad conduct, it truly disturbs me.”

Then he signaled for Woods to come stand next to him.

“It’s all right here, ” he said, placing his hands on Woods’s shoulders. “The responsibility is all on your shoulders. Protect the game. It’s beautiful.”

Don Wade

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